My oldest granddaughter, Ava, is eight years old and is sensitive, kind, generous and caring. She loves the ocean and all creatures in it, as well as all the farm animals she and her family have on their farm. Her younger sister, Juliette, is three (what her mom calls a “threenager”), and is very different from Ava. She is brash, funny, and nothing much seems to bother her.
Recently their mom told us about an incident with Ava. She is in third grade and rides the bus to school. There is a little boy who is in second grade, and he always ends up sitting with Ava. When she came home from school the other day, and her mother asked how her day went, she said that it was fine except for the bus ride. Her mother asked her why, and Ava said about the little boy, “he spits at me.” Her mother asked if he actually was spitting on her, and she said “no, he does it when he talks.”
Her mother asked her if maybe his adult teeth were coming in and he just couldn’t help it. Ava, who is always kind to everyone, didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but she really didn’t like it that he spit when he talked. So her mother said, “what if he really can’t help it? Can you imagine how hard it would be if you did something you couldn’t control and people didn’t like you for it?”
She could see that Ava was putting two and two together; perhaps this boy just liked talking with her but couldn’t help spitting. It changed her entire attitude about him. The next day after school, her mom asked her how things went with the little boy on the bus. Ava smiled and said, “we’re friends now.” Her mother asked if he still spit, and Ava said, “it’s ok; he can’t help it.”
This is a lesson to us all; don’t judge—we never truly know what is in another person’s heart. We may hurt people’s feelings because we don’t understand them or know enough about them; but judgement does not mean truth. Ava learned a wonderful lesson from her very smart mom, and in the process made a true friend. If only we all could learn that lesson!