Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I have the habit of not being nice when someone takes my parking place at home. It shouldn't be a big deal, but it is. "It's mine" comes out of that whiney prepubescent time when everything I wanted got gobbled up by younger siblings. My clothes, my toys, my stuff. It annoyed me to have to fight to keep my stuff.

One day, I was walking home from school with my baseball, bat and glove after a game. One of the bullies in the neighborhood stopped on his bike and asked to see my ball and glove. We stood there talking and I finally told him I had to go home. He kept throwing the ball up in the air refusing to give me the ball. I said, "Give -me - my - ball - now." He didn't say a word but continued to stand there playing with it. I repeated this three times. Still no ball and glove. While he was looking up to catch the ball, I swung my bat across his left leg which straddled the bike and nailed him. I lost all recollection of what happened next, but I never had problems from the boys in the neighborhood again.

Fast forward thirty two years. I came home one morning to find my parking space taken by another car. After fuming a few minutes, I walked inside the house and thought about what happened. This wasn't an earth shattering event. It was just a car owned by someone who was visiting. What transpired next surprised me. I thought, 'what if the person who did this was my beloved brother. What if he needed to just drop something off and hurry back to work. How would I react? What would I say to him?' That's when I decided to reevaluate the situation.

Although the person who parked in my space was not my brother, it could have been. And then what? Why would I treat someone differently than I would my own brother. In a larger sense, we are all brothers. If I were to consider that someone doing me wrong was an attack against me, and then change my mind and consider that he could possibly be someone I cared about, it might change everything. From that day forward in almost each and every instance, I treated those who didn't think about their actions as my brother. That got me and them off the hook. I call it brotherly love.

From the bully in the schoolyard to the bully in the boardroom and to those who push and shove their will onto everyone, there's no reason for retaliation. Just remember your most favorite person, relative or friend and treat the new situation and them accordingly.

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