Many years ago when I was younger I had a morning paper route.  So did my older brother and sister.  We each had to get up at about the same time every day (5:00 am) to get dressed, bring in the newspapers, fold them (sometimes bagging them) and then go deliver them.  OK, we got to sleep in a little on Saturday and Sunday because the delivery commit time was later, but the Sunday papers were a LOT heavier.

One of the first things we had to do was to decide wether to bag or just use rubber bands.  We of course preferred rubber bands because we had to pay for them and they were cheaper and faster then bagging the papers, but of course we liked to deliver dry news papers because then it is more likely that we will get tips and no complaints.  Go figure.

One morning as we all made our way out of bed to get the newspapers and bring them in, I waited inside and my brother went out the back door and my sister went out the front door.  Sometimes we like to check the warmth of the day as well to determine the proper clothing situation.  That’s what was happening this day.

After my sister brought the newspapers in and my brother came back in the house, my brother said “It’s raining, we need to bag the papers.”  

My sister disagreed.  “It is NOT raining.”

As you could imagine, the discussion got a little heated.  Really, how hard could it be to determine whether it was raining or not?  It is not that difficult to tell.  If the ground is wet, it has probably been raining.  If you can see little spots appearing on the cement or feel the drops, it is pretty clear that it is raining.   How could they disagree so passionately about something that should be obvious to either one of them?

They were not arguing for fun or simply disagreeing because they could.  My brother and sister both passionately believed their point of view based on their own independent evaluation of the situation.  Neither one was lying and both of them were smart enough to know whether it was raining or not.  They had both been outside and one of them claimed it was raining while the other claimed it was not.

So who was right and why did they not both agree on something as simple as whether it was raining?  

We all went outside to prove one side or the other.  It turned out that a rain cloud was slowly passing over our house at the time both of them went outside to evaluate the weather.  It was raining in the back yard and not raining in the front yard.  As we observed the situation, we could actually see the progress of the cloud based on where the rain drops were falling on the cement.  It was both fascinating and a little funny to me to see the evidence of the raincloud moving across our yard and the resoution of the argument.  We all had a good laugh about it and got on with bagging the papers.

So often we find ourselves disagreeing on things that matter so passionately to us.  We see things from our view.  We are smart enough and wise enough to know what we know.  The problem is that we don’t often see the world as it really is, we see what we believe the world looks like.  There is an old saying that when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.  

Sometimes both sides can be right in an argument.  My brother was right that it was raining.  My sister was also right that it was not raining(yet).  They managed to find middle ground and not have any hard feelings about the argument because nature resolved it for them.

What you see in the world or in any given situation truly depends on where you stand.  Where you are emotionally, mentally, physically, religiously, and any other descriptive “ly” colors our perception.  Some perceptions are closer to the truth than others and everyone’s points of view could use a little correction from time to time.

Maybe that’s why I tend to not argue as much as I used to.  I just stand in a different place than pretty much everyone else.

Comments Welcome

Advertisements