Me and my wife are waiting in line in M&S to purchase a couple of essentials. Hannah is a teacher, and has had a few M&S gift certificates, so we were using them to pay for the stuff - free food stuff is always welcome here! Anyway, as she is handing over the gift certificates/card, she mentions that it is one of the perks of being a teacher, to which the woman behind us "just had to say" (apparently) that the 6 weeks of holiday are also a perk, surely.
Now, this neither of us can argue with. It's a slur that pretty much every teacher has had to put up with and smile graciously about since, well, since forever I imagine! However, the woman in question proceeds to snort out that, 'in fact, there are about 13 weeks' holiday. Paid. *tut*'. Hannah, being Hannah, hates confrontation, so she said nothing. Until we got into the car at which point she made her frustration known. "Why do some people feel that they can be so rude?" she justifiably asked. Indeed, why do they? What is it about certain people that makes them feel they "just HAVE to say something". They conveniently leave out the fact that most teachers work 12-13 hours per day, and that during the shorter holidays, they are working most of the time. I also wonder whether or not this woman's children go to school. Or in fact, did she? I am sure her (hypothetical) children would be worse off if there were no teachers.
We live in such a judgmental society. In fact, here I am judging this woman based on observing her actions for less than 5 minutes. It is bizarre. We are generally encouraged to do so by the media too. I believe that the contestants for Big Brother were booed before they even entered the house this year... What an odd society we are. Internet message boards, and blogs such as this, are rife with people saying the most disturbing things to each other, over nothing at all!
As a Christian, I am told by its founder to "not judge others". It is a practice we could all do with a bit more. I hope that we can be more gracious, and thankful to those we meet.
Therefore, allow me to offer you this challenge. For each person that you come into contact with, try and find something encouraging to say to them. Resist the temptation to lower their status by denigrating something about their existence.
"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it's the only answer."