It was a sunny morning in Fairbanks, and the entire neighborhood was outside soaking up the sun. Groups of moms hovered on the sidewalks, and chatted with cups of coffee in hand. The warm weather in Alaska did not stay long, so everyone welcomed the seasonal interloper called Summer.
I was visiting a friend in another housing area, and a posse of new kids whipped around the corner. They had fallen in with the regular crew and blended in quickly like Army brats tend to do. I had a toddler on my hip, but we were enjoying a day out with the big kids. I was taking in some much-needed adult conversation with my Vitamin D.
“Looks like you have new neighbors?” I asked my friend. “We do”, she responded with a smile. Instantaneously the neighborhood’s cornucopia of knowledge chimed in, “They have three children, but the youngest one isn’t actually their child, it is their grandchild. They are raising him because their teenage daughter had a baby.” She spoke with dramatic flair and hung on words she wanted to emphasize. Everyone paused, shot her an incredulous glance and continued talking. She scurried away after her failed attempt to insert drama into our peaceful playdate.
Her actions irked me. I learned early on in my adulthood to never say never. Ever. How did she know what the future held? Crystal ball? Telepathy? I chalked it up to ignorance mixed with a big dose of arrogance. It wasn’t my first experience with a knowledgeable acquaintance and unfortunately wasn’t my last.
They say people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but don’t we all live in a glass house? We all judge and are judged. Some use their outside voice, and others judge silently. It is an innately human trait. Gossip is also surprisingly natural. It can be a bonding experience, but when and where you choose to throw stones says much more about you versus your intended target. Choose your words, and your friends wisely. Karma really is a bitch, and she can shatter a pane or two.
Every time I catch myself running at the mouth I try to take a deep breath and glance into the nearest mirror. Nine times out of ten I am unhappy with me. Insecurities can quickly bubble over into bad behavior. Being human is messy, but it isn’t an excuse. The more I focus on keeping my glass house clean, the less I want to throw stones into someone else’s.
Got some good scoop on the new girl? Take a deep breath, lay down that stone and pick up the Windex. The world needs more shine.
Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. ~ George Washington
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