A young girl recognized her middle school teacher on the street, and she walked up to her and said, “Teacher! Do you recognize me?”
The teacher looked at the young girl and said, “Sorry, I don’t remember.”
The student said, “I was in your middle school class. I’m the student that stole a classmate’s watch.”
The teacher thought again and said, “I’m really sorry, I still don’t remember.”
The student said, “That day, you made each student stand facing the wall with our hands covering our eyes, and then you went and searched each person’s pockets for the watch. When you found the watch in my pocket, I was extremely nervous. I thought you would scold me and my reputation would be ruined forever!
But strangely, you didn’t scold me. You didn’t even say who stole the watch. You just returned the watch to the classmate and continued class as normal. All the way to graduation, you didn’t mention it. I was so relieved and grateful! Do you remember me now?"
The teacher smiled and said, “Oh I remember that incident! But there’s no way I would remember you. I didn’t want to ruin any relationships among the classmates or have any negative bias towards any of my students, so I also closed my eyes when searching through my students’ pockets.”
When the student heard this, all she could do was cry and give the teacher a big hug of appreciation.
We all make mistakes. When we make a mistake, do we want others to scold and criticize us angrily? Probably not. Yet when others make a mistake, how do we treat them?
If we don't treat others with kindness when they make a mistake, how can we expect others to treat us nicely when we make a mistake? Thus, a happier relationship and a better world all starts with us practicing the Golden Rule:
"Treat others the way you want to be treated."
Moreover, when others make a mistake, do we keep thinking about their wrong? When we keep thinking about their wrong, who suffers? To put other people's wrongs in our precious mind is like bringing other people's garbage into our private bedroom. That's quite absurd, isn't it? Thus, this teacher didn't even want to know who stole the watch, because he did not want to put anyone's garbage into his mind.
If you are like me, you might get very upset at people's unreasonableness. Sometimes, I think, "I was absolutely reasonable, and they are being totally unreasonable here. I can't stand it!" OK, but even if they are wrong, we don't need to keep criticizing them in our mind. We can choose to forgive them and give them the opportunity to improve. After all, isn't that how we wish to be treated?
Besides, everyone is trying their best to do what they think is right. No one purposely tries to be wrong or stupid. When we remember this, we can feel more compassion and kindness towards others. If we can always treat others the way we want to be treated, with kindness, then we will have happier relationships and contribute to a better world. And who knows, you just might change someone's life like that teacher!
Weekly Wisdom #226