So here I am, writing this little article for the February edition of Go Local . . . on Christmas Eve. I have the radio on in the background, and my ears are being constantly bombarded with various people telling me that it is “the season to be jolly” and that it’s time to show “peace and goodwill to all men”. However, my eyes appear to be telling me something else, and that it doesn’t actually seem to be “the season to be jolly” and there’s very little “peace and goodwill to all men” going around. Rather it should be “peace and goodwill to all men, apart from that driver who just cut me up; and not forgetting that horrible person in the supermarket, who the hell does she think she is; oh, and there’s also that strange friend of Jamie, never too sure about him; and before I forget there’s also that appalling waitress in the restaurant last night, she was absolutely hopeless! Etc etc etc.
Over the last decade or so, as a society in general, we seem to have become far more judgemental, critical and blaming of others than I appear to once remember. I am not a sociologist and therefore cannot comment as to the reasons why we appear to be less tolerant of others nowadays, all I can say is that I passionately wish it weren’t so.
If we take a minute to look at the comment mentioned above regarding the hopeless waitress. She forgot orders, mixed them up, and dropped a couple of plates, to name a few of the things that went wrong for her that evening. In those particular circumstances it would be very easy to ‘judge and criticise’ her ability, and extremely easy to deride her under our breath. But what would our thoughts and reactions have been if we were in possession of the actual facts regarding the reasons why her level of service proved rather poor that night.
Her husband had unexpectedly died the previous day; she has very little money and no insurance to cover the £4,500 funeral costs; she is alone with no family or friends to help her; and she has three children to provide for. Instead of judging, criticising and blaming her, I would guarantee that almost all of us would have turned our initial negative thoughts towards her completely around and instead we would have become filled with compassion and understanding for the dire circumstances this lady had found herself in.
So maybe in future if we all took a deep breath before we embark on any forms of judgement, blame and criticism, we may actually begin to attain the spirit of “peace and goodwill to all men”.