The Other Side of the Story - Visitation Rites

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The Other Side of the Story - Giving People the Benefit of the Doubt

The best way to be convinced of the importance of judging favorably is to be the one suspected. Being in a position where onlookers assume we are doing one thing, while we know we are doing something quite different, teaches us how easy it is to draw wrong conclusions. We learn, hands on, what it means to be...

In The Un-Easy Chair

As co-chairperson of our annual sisterhood luncheon, I worked with a committee of dedicated women who worked far beyond the call of duty. I felt they deserved public recognition, and therefore I cited each one of them when writing my speech for the luncheon.

The big day arrived, and we worked until the last minute to ensure that everything would run smoothly. But a problem with the sound system took almost an hour to fix, throwing us off schedule. To make matters worse, the first speaker spoke 15 minutes over time. I was next. As I gathered my notes, the president approached me saying that the keynote speaker needed to catch a plane. Since we were behind schedule, I could speak for 5 minutes and not more. I became nervous and flustered. Everything I had prepared was important. What could I delete at the last minute? With no time to think, I simply began at the beginning. After 5 minutes I got a wave from the president to finish. I sat down.

At the end of the evening my co-chairperson walked over to me. "I'm surprised at you," she said. "You of all people should know how important it is to thank those who helped. You saw more than anyone how they came through day and night, whenever needed, and at a moment's notice. They turned this evening into a success." When she finally gave me a chance, I explained what had happened. But what I really wanted to say - but didn't - was: "While we're on the topic of 'should have known,' you should have known that I do know the importance of appreciation. I know these people should have been thanked. How could you think I would be so neglectful and unappreciative not to give credit where due? Why didn't you credit me with that understanding?"

When we are misjudged, that's when we begin to really appreciate the value of judging others favorably.


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Based on "The Other Side of the Story" by Mrs. Yehudis Samet, ArtScroll Series

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