Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dear sons: Look beyond the flaws

Letter #16

Dear Sons:

Been a while since I added one of these letters. The other day one of you was criticizing your brother. Your dad took the teachable moment to relay a lesson not to look for what others are doing wrong and not to tell them about every little thing they do wrong.

I'm going to add to it by saying that in everyone you meet there is some kind of flaw. No one is perfect. There is an imperfection of some sort to everyone. Sometimes it's visible. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's staring you in the face and very obvious, but if you take time to look beyond it or give that person another chance you might be surprised.

Sometimes it's frustrating to see flaws in others that you think should be corrected. Sometimes it's not your job to fix it. It's theirs. Sometimes you need to step back and give them a chance to correct it. Jumping in to fix someone else's problem can sometimes cause them further problems.

What one person sees as a flaw, can be a beautiful thing to someone else. I remember that there was a time when I was younger that I was extremely shy. I wasn't that way with close friends, but around others I was quiet as a mouse just waiting to be acknowledged or talked to. It was a lonely way to be and I eventually outgrew it.

I remember once being at a friend's house and her older sister was very outgoing and very blunt and sometimes just downright mean. She told her sister she shouldn't hang out with me because of my shyness and that I was dragging her down. I remember how hurt I was. But, being the shy one, I just sat there and didn't say a word. Later I cried my eyes out. Luckily that friend didn't take her sister's advice. She knew I was fun to be with when we weren't in a big crowd and she didn't mind trying to engage me in the group when I was being quiet and unsure. Her sister saw my quiet personality as a flaw and she didn't like it. She saw that flaw and still wanted to be my friend.

When I met your dad I was still in a pretty shy phase. He met me and liked me right away, even though I wasn't very talkative. He liked that I smiled a lot. He was the opposite of shy and we got along great. The more I got to know him, the less shy I was. I was glad he was patient and wanted to be around me despite my flaw. He took it kind of as a challenge to get me to open up more.

You'll encounter a lot of people with various flaws or disabilities in your lifetime. Don't judge them based on those. Get to know them a little more and see what more there is to the person besides that flaw that you noticed so easily. Chances are there's a flaw about you that others have overlooked, too. Don't be too hard on others or on yourself.

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