Consider the source
by GLENETTA SHUEY
People will often disappoint us, sometimes even those closest to us. People will speak ill of us and hurt our feelings. We are usually surprised at these incidents. It happens: sometimes unintentionally and sometimes they seem to think it is “for our own good.”
I always love that one: “I said it for his own good.” Really? Let’s try reversing that scenario, and see how that works. I especially love it when someone accuses someone of something, yet I know for a fact that they have done the same. The word hypocritical comes to mind.
I learned how to deal with those people many years ago by following the simple words of my wise father. Often, I would go by my parents’ home to talk to my dad after a particularly stressful day. I distinctly remember the advice he gave me one day after someone had made some hurtful statements about me. We were sitting on his swing on his back patio, when he gave me a hug, and said with so much feeling: “Who is this person?” I told him, and he smiled. I remember thinking that this wasn’t the time for smiles. But then he said in his sweet Cajun accent, “Baby, consider the source.” At first, I just sat there, and then he laughed and I laughed. It was exactly what I needed to hear. No angry outbursts from my dad, just simple and sane advice from a man who had seen it all: the Depression, World War II, and the years after when his own son died in the Vietnam War. He made me understand in that moment that some people cannot be muzzled, no matter how much you would like to do so. And most times, those same people would never admit they are wrong anyway, so the arguing would be fruitless.
My dad loved us all unconditionally, and when my sister married a black man and had two wonderful boys, he loved them the same. Later, he found out that some people had declared they would no longer do business with him because he would often bring his grandsons with him. Sheer ignorance. He chose to take his own advice though. To that counsel, he added that he found out who his true friends were.
My children, and now my grandchildren, have been given this advice: simple and sage. They, too, have had to heed it many times. They have been taught to pick their battles carefully. Some people just aren’t worth it. Forgiving those who hurt you is another bit of guidance he taught us. Now, I will admit that was a tougher lesson to learn, as I am not as kind as my dad. But, Dad, if you are watching, give me a while, I am working on it.
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