Interpreting events is impossible without all the facts. Proper understanding can only be achieved with all the information.

It happened in a Walmart bathroom (please stay with me). I walked in and could hear a boy sobbing in the accessible stall. His father sounded like he was helping him, although his voice was calm and quiet. The young boy was having a fit. An occasional scream, with wailing and tears, kept coming. The dad remained nearly silent as he worked with the boy.

In my mind, all I could think was, “That little boy needs discipline. There is nothing in the world that requires this kind of reaction.” I wondered how that father could patiently endure his son’s tantrum. I was only in the bathroom for a few minutes, and my blood was already starting to boil. Finally, I thought, “This is almost unbearable to hear; maybe I should say something.”

Just then, the man opened the stall door, and all was revealed. The man appeared in his late 30s and held the whimpering boy in his arms. The young man had down syndrome, and tears rolled down his cheeks. The dad held him tight and only whispered, “It’s okay. You are fine.” 

Suddenly all my feelings change. In a fraction of a second, I went from angry to sympathetic. My emotions wholly transformed once I knew the truth of the situation. 

I wonder how often I have misread encounters because I did not have all the information.

Always remember that before you form an opinion about a person or a situation in their life, it is best to find out the total truth. The person who makes you angry more likely needs your help or sympathy than anything else.


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