|Some rights reserved by Bob AuBuchon|
My middle-school teaching days are well behind me now. But I have since learned that it is not just middle-schoolers who have stories behind their behaviors. Everyone has a story to tell. And in almost all cases, a person's behavior, whether we find it pleasant or not, can be tied, at least in part, to that story. When we know someone's story, we are much more willing to make accommodations for behavior that is less than stellar. When we know what another has been through, it makes us more compassionate in our responses. When we understand what someone else has experienced, we are less likely to take words or deeds as a personal affront, instead recognizing that they often arise from circumstances that have absolutely nothing to do with us.
If we recognize that fact when we know the story ... how much of a stretch would it be to simply assume that everyone has a story to tell, even when we do not actually know the particular details? Can we allow others the benefit of the doubt in our interactions with them ... simply because we know that they must have their own story ... even when their own narrative remains hidden from us? Must we exact the intimate details from others in order to respond with kindness, compassion, and understanding, or can it be enough to know that those details exist for them just as they do for us?
What kind of story might we create by recognizing that every person we meet is the protagonist of a tale of sound and fury signifying most everything that is important. What stories would we then be invited to be a part of or could we then create?