Object Lessons

An object lesson is where you are put into the shoes of the person whose viewpoint you are learning about. It is a singularly effective way to force someone to carefully consider their position and shock them out of simple habitual belief. I have experienced this shock twice in recent memory. The first time, I asked a coworker to search through some DVDs for graphics that we could use in our presentation. I thought little of the request when I made it, but then she said no. When I wondered why, she suggested that I do it instead. No sooner had I contemplated doing it myself then I immediately recognized the onerous nature of the task, deciding that it was not worth doing after all. I apologized, and then did it anyway, because one should never ask someone else to do something you are unwilling to do yourself.
The second object lesson in recent memory revolves around the difficulty of communication. It is hard to say things to people sometimes, and when someone makes that effort, it is nice to get a response, demonstrating acknowledgment of that effort. Unfortunately, as is all too often the case with things that are difficult to say, the immediate instinctive response is stunned silence, while you try and figure out the right thing to say, followed by continuing silence as the moment to say what you just thought of has passed. I was on the receiving end of this a few days ago, which immediately brought to mind the time a few weeks ago, when I was on the sending end. I’m sorry for sending, for I now know what it feels like to receive.

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