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Thought for the Day: Benefit of the Doubt/Different Perspective

My wife and I had a great conversation last night at dinner:
Me: Since  A is true, B is obviously true.
Wife: That makes no sense.
Me: What do you mean, it's completely logical.
Wife: So?  It still doesn't make any sense.
Me: What do you mean?  That statement doesn't make any sense.
Wife: It makes sense to me.
Me: That's scary.
Wife: No, it would be scary if it didn't even make sense to me.
.... She had me there; so we had dessert.
All of that reminded me how important to remember that different people have different perspectives, and they can both be right.  Imagine two people looking at an object; one says it's a rectangular, the other round.  They can't both be right, can they?  Actually, yes they can.  Look at the shadow of can from the side, then lay it on its side and look at the new shadow.  First it was rectangular, now it's round.  Sometimes just stepping back and taking another look from a different point of view can change everything.

But sometimes not.  I got a great lesson in "dan l'chaf z'chus" (giving the benefit of the doubt) from a book I read to my granddaughter over Pesach.  A butterfly is helping a baby monkey find its mother.  "She's big," says the monkey.  "Oh!  I know just where she is!", says the butterfly; and promptly takes him to an elephant.  "No!  Smaller!"  "Oh!  Right here!"  Now a spider.  "Not so many legs!"  "Oh!  I right here!"  A toucan.  And so forth, till finally the monkey exclaims, "None of those look anything like me!!!"  At this comment the butterfly pauses.  "Your mother looks like you?  None of my children look like me..."  Of course not, they are caterpillars.

That struck me.  No matter how much the monkey explained things, he could never imagine that the butterfly needed to be told that he looked like his mother.  No matter how hard the butterfly tried, she never could have guessed that a mother should look like the baby.  Sometimes you just can't see things from the other's perspective.  They have a whole history that you don't know and probably couldn't appreciate even if you did know.

Now when I get frustrated that someone isn't getting something that is obvious to me and I really can't understand where they are coming from, I tell myself that they are a butterfly.  It doesn't always help me to explain things, but at least I get less frustrated.  I'm good with that.


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