Thursday, February 14, 2013

Treating Others With Grace

Treating Others With Grace
I recently read a blog post shared by a friend on Facebook that was touching and moving and made you think.  The blog post was The Lesson Of Grace In Teaching.  All too often it seems like we are all focused on destroying one another to get ahead or to show others that we are somehow superior.  However, we often miss the mark when it comes to treating others with grace. While the blog post I'm referencing here is about teaching, I believe it applies to every facet of life and how we treat others.

Many years ago, I struggled hard with math and in fact I have written about it at times on this blog.  If you would like to read these earlier posts, you can check out the topic, Math Is Hard.

During a time where a family member was raping and abusing me, my 6 year old mind and body could not grasp the concept of first grade math.  The teacher did not know what to do with me and so she would put me in the corner of the room with scissors, glue, construction paper and tape just to have fun doing whatever I wanted to do during math class time.  As long as I kept myself entertained and quiet, she was happy.  Unfortunately when my parents found out, I ended up being moved back to Kindergarten.  I don't recall most of this, but I wonder if the teacher would have treated me with a little more respect or even the family member that was abusing and raping me stopped this behavior, would things have turned out differently?

As I grew up, math was always hard and it didn't seem like most teachers cared enough to make it something I could understand.  On top of that, I had a drill sergeant parent who forced me to learn addition and subtraction by relentless hours of flash card interaction.  I still shake and shudder at the thought of that because unless I could get them perfect, I would get screamed at until I did.

Later in high school, I would struggle with algebra.  I tried to take as few math classes as was required because they were so difficult for me and the experiences of my past would haunt me each time.  In one algebra quiz, I went through the entire class only able to answer one or two questions before the bell rang.  The teacher was concerned and so was I, because I knew a failing quiz grade would not be good for me.  Fortunately she allowed me to spend all my free time that day working on my quiz and at the end of the day I handed it in to her, completed and if my memory is correct, an almost perfect paper.  This instructor treated me with grace and because she did, I knew someone believe in me.  I felt honored and respected for the first time in my life when it came to the subject of math.

It is unfortunate though that we go through life not being respected and not having others treating us with grace.  It really isn't a hard thing to do and it is so important.  In fact, the more you are treating others with grace, the more respectful and honest you are being towards yourself.  How we treat others is a big issue in our society and our world.  We are failing miserably as humans and my hope is that it the course of events will be reversed.

Just one kind word of honor and respect to someone else can make their day.  Whether it is a teacher in a classroom, or a boss or a significant other, this one small act of grace can either inspire and encourage, or degrade and destroy.  When we destroy others, we destroy a little more of our self.  When we help build up others and help encourage them, we lift our own spirits to a higher vibration.

Treating others with grace should be the norm, not the exception.  Yes, people can and do manage to achieve levels of accomplishment in spite of how they were treated by those who were influential in their life.  Yet, doesn't it require us to ask, why should anyone have to go through a period of not being respected and treated as if they matter?  It seems so simple, and as humans we are missing the mark more than we should. If we choose, we can be part of the solution.  We don't need to be part of the problem.  Let us first begin with treating our self with grace, so that we can treat others with grace.

Blog Post And Images (c) 1/18/13 by Don Shetterly

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