Have you ever been unfairly judged or unjustly accused? About something that you had nothing to do with?
I’m sure you have. Or else you are not human. Or you have relationships that are not with humans. 🙂 It happens some time or the other to every one of us. And at times, you are likely doing the judging.
We’ve all seen some extreme cases of this occurence. Someone is sent to prison and years later is found to be innocent. Tragic really because that person’s precious years and life have vanished. And then you see someone like Mandela (no, not Morgan Freeman!) and what he accomplished while in prison and it’s like, wow!
But most people don’t deal with such extremes or excesses.
Frequently these “unfair things” are insignificant and don’t occupy a lot of space in your brain. But then something might have happened to you ages ago. It’s not even that consequential. But you still remember it clear as day today. Why?
There’s a young child in kindergarten. Each evening when this 5 year old goes home, she and her other 5 year old friends meet with a tutor, someone who ensures that their homework is getting done.
Something strange is afoot though. Every once in a while, very mysteriously, this girl’s school books disappear right on time…that is, when it’s time to do her homework. The kid claims that she doesn’t have a clue where her books are. But the tutor is convinced that she is hiding them herself because she doesn’t want to have anything to do with homework that day. So she berates, reprimands, shouts at the kid. To no avail. The child cries but the teacher is convinced that it’s all an act and those are simply crocodile tears. The child says she has no idea where her books are. But the teacher doesn’t believe her. Especially when the books appear just as mysteriously when it’s time for school the next day.
Then one day.
Lo and behold, the child “finds” one of her hidden books. She is thrilled. She comes running to the teacher, smiling and can’t wait to let her know about this wonderful find! She shows the book to her and tells her where she found it.
What does the teacher say?
Of course, you found it. You are the one who hid it there!
And it gets worse. Just for finding the book and bringing it to her, she is sent off to stand in the corner facing the wall as punishment. With her friends as witnesses. The ultimate humiliation.
Fast forward to many years later, the kids in question are all in their late teens, they’ve reunited with the tutor and are sitting around chatting about the good old days. Somehow, the topic of the hidden books in kindergarten comes up – remember when…? One of the friends pipes up and says, you know, I’m the one who hid your books. Everyone is having a good laugh. Meanwhile, I’m thinking –
To this day, that hurts. Not so much that a friend hid my books – she probably had a good reason to do so. Maybe I did something to anger or annoy her, and she wanted to retaliate. Or she was having a string of bad days. It could have been anything. Kids will be kids.
What hurts is that the tutor did not believe me. She had made up her mind and nothing I said or did convinced her.
It’s funny what you remember when you grow up, isn’t it?