Sunday, October 12, 2014

Perspective from an 8-Year-Old

I made a little girl cry the other day. I didn't do it on purpose, in fact I was surprised to look up and see the tears streaming down her face. She was playing soccer; I was the referee. She was in a scrum, as young children frequently are when they are learning the game, actively kicking at the ball. I hear the crack of cleat on shin guard and the girl opposite "Angela" went down. I called a foul and set the ball for the girl who went down. I look up and there is Angela, crying. I held up play and asked her what was wrong. In her bravest voice she stammered out, "I d-d-didn't do a-a-anything wr-wr-wrong!" I didn't go into any details, just knelt down to look her in the eye and asked her if she sometimes made mistakes. She nodded through the tears. I said, "Sometimes referees make mistakes too. It's ok. Take some deep breaths." And she did. In a few seconds she was ready to play and I restarted the game.

The whole incident has made me ponder perspective. I am sure there was a foul and sure that stopping play was the right call. But Angela clearly was also sure she did not commit the foul. She was simply doing her best and had a clear idea of right and wrong. Maybe we all can take a step back when we feel injustice and look at it from the other perspective and admit that everyone else, just like me and you, sometimes makes honest mistakes.

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