Logs And Speck
Happy #truthThursday Friends!
Today I am reflecting on my hypocrisy. I wrote this piece five years ago. It was a good reminder not to judge others, but to let them act as they see fit and not let that disturb me from acting as I see fit. I hope this reminder is as useful for you as it was for me.
Logs and Specks …
I think I have created a version of my mother’s voice in my head. It doesn’t sound like her, it sounds like me because it is in my head, but it says the things she would say. I think it is an important part of my mind though, it keeps me in check and reminds me not to forget my manners and scolds me when I do.
Today an elderly man walked into the library. He spoke to the other girl working on the shift with me. He said he had written a book but there was no pdf of it and was wondering how he could get it in pdf. In her response she was not rude, she was just very casual, the kind that is carefree and doesn’t really differentiate between speaking with a 20-year-old and an 84-year-old. She said to him, slightly off-handedly, “Well, the only way you could do that is if you scanned it page by page. I don’t know any other way to get it into pdf.”
I was so embarrassed! How could she tell this old man that he should go and scan a book? Was she expecting him to do it himself?! I couldn’t ever imagine telling my grandfather that, it was just so strange to me. Then he asked again, saying that when it was written there was really no pdf and she just directed him to our supervisor. Ah! Why didn’t she go and ask the woman for him? I was confused; or maybe so shocked by her irreverence that I did not even realize all the time I had been sitting down watching this “drama” before my eyes, I could easily have offered to help him, or at least walked to the supervisor’s office to ask her to help him out. I thought this as I saw him walk past to get himself help, but I still sat there in my chair, wrestling with my mother’s voice. To be honest, I just ignored it.
After he had walked over there, the third person at the library desk said, “You just helped John Nash.” And a look of shock appeared on her face. Aha! So she did realize that was not how to talk to elderly people, it was only the fact that this elderly person was a Math whiz with a Nobel prize that made her feel slightly uneasy that she had been so casual while responding to his enquiries.
“Wait, really?!”, she asked.
“He looks so different!”
Well, duh he’s not going to look like the person in the movie because this is the real deal.
“That’s so cool!”
She said again, and then I realized that I had been wrong in my interpretation of the shocked reaction to learning his identity. She was still oblivious to the fact that she didn’t know how to talk to the elderly.
After bashing this girl in my head my mother’s voice comes back to me.
“You too Oladoyin why did you just sit there looking? Ko da rara. O ye ko dide, Ko lo ba man ye, ko help e pelu nkan to fe se. O kan joko sibe sha, o’n woran bi omo ti o leko. That is not good enough o. O ye ko ma toju awon agbalagba*.”
*(Quick Rough Translation: That wasn't good at all. You should've stood up to help the man with what he needed. Instead, you just sat there and stared like a child without home training. You should take care of the elderly.)
And she (well her voice in my head) was right. I had prevented myself from doing what I ought to have done because I was too busy judging this girl and her “rudeness” to do the right thing myself. I think I was even more in the wrong. I knew better, clearly, she didn’t. To her, he was just another patron visiting the library. She would’ve had a similar response to anyone else that had asked her the same thing. I, on the other hand, have been brought up with a culture steeped in the deepest depths of respect. I have been taught that an 84-year old man shouldn’t be treated in the same way I’d treat other younger people.
Today I experienced, not for the first time and probably not for the last, the importance of watching myself so that I do not get lost in my judgment of others. I spent the whole time shaking my head at this girl, doing exactly what I was shaking my head at her for! Then I now felt bad about it after the fact.
Chai, see life!
Happy Weekend Ahead Guys!
Here's to removing the logs in our eyes before taking out the specks in that of others.