Christian Living Perspective

You Didn’t Know?

The young boy in my music class was on my last nerve. No matter what the rest of the students did, he just sat there—staring into space.

Enough was enough. During a group movement activity, when everyone was supposed to stand but he didn’t, I pounced.

“On your feet, young man!,” I yelped with obvious annoyance, “You need to participate in class like everyone else.”

No response.

I admonished him in even stronger terms: threatening to take his recess, call his mom and send him back to the previous grade (not really) 😊 unless he did what I said.

Again, no response.

That’s it. “You’re OUT of here!” I said, motioning like a baseball umpire ejecting an unruly player from the game. An assistant principal came and took the student, but I continued to fume for the rest of the class period.

During my lunch break I called his mom to tell her what happened. By this time, I’d cooled off, but was itching to provide a play-by-play of her son’s behavior.

However, three sentences in, when I finally came up for air, she said something that changed everything:

“My son is autistic.”

Needless to say, I immediately went from slightly agitated to absolutely ashamed. Her son (MY student) was on sensory overload from all the noise and movement in MY classroom, and I’d given him an extremely hard time for something HE couldn’t help.

After apologetically assuring the mom I’d do a better job with her son in the future, I knew what I had to do. I hung up the phone and walked straight to the boy’s classroom and apologized to him.

“Your mom told me that loud noises and lots of moving are sometimes too much for you. I’m sorry I was so hard on you. I didn’t know.”

I’ll never forget what he said:

“You didn’t know?”

There’s often at least one fact (on either side of any misunderstanding) that could change everything—IF it were known.

But we often DON’T know, so we throw that person out of our life.

Perhaps this is because of the tendency to *judge others by their actions, but ourselves by our intentions.

*My blogger buddy Chris Hendrix actually said this on his site— I liked it so much I reused it. 😇

It’s best to leave the final judgment to God, as Paul reminded the church at Corinth.

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

1 Corinthians 4:4-6

Question: is there someone in your life who needs more mercy than judgement? Someone who could say to you, like that little guy said to me, “You didn’t know?”

“Finger face with a question” by Tsahi Levent-Levi is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By davidsdailydose

I'm just a regular guy who was
tempted to lose all hope but did not. It was God who made the difference.

43 replies on “You Didn’t Know?”

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, Angel. It’s so easy to make hasty judgments on what seems to be reality. But real life is often more complicated.

God’s best to you.


So true, Dawn! It can be emotionally draining, but at school I always aim to stay in “high receive mode emotionally. When I get home, late in the afternoon, it’s a different story.😇 My own family has been known to call me Mr. Grumpy.

Thanks for your thoughts. I am grateful you stopped by today! Blessings. 🙏

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Thanks David. This reminds me of how important it is to show mercy and compassion to others. We never know what people are dealing with but we should take time to listen and learn.

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I hear you, Mitch. I try not to repeat the same mistake twice, but to err is human.😌
Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m sure you peruse plenty of blogs. I appreciate you stopping by! Blessings.

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David, this is such a powerful post. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this. We have adopted three older kids, adding to our three kids. I always thought I was doing God a favor…. I soon found out it was the other way around. He taught me more lessons than I could have ever imagined. One of the bigger ones, was that … I JUST DON’T KNOW about other’s pain. I wonder if we all changed our perspective on people if we saw them at their worst moments. In that moment of greatest loss. In the abuse. In the losing of love. In their abandonment. In their story. Thank you for sharing your heart here. This will stick with me, David.

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Thanks, Chris. I enjoy your insights into leadership, learning and life.

The challenge for me, is dealing with how power corrupts. I have great latitude over what happens in my classroom. I never want to misuse this power for evil.

Here’s a great quote by Eugene Peterson. I believe it’s in his intro to the book of Proverbs for The Message translation:

“Because leadership is necessarily an exercise of authority, it easily shifts into an exercise of power. But the minute it does that, it begins to inflict damage on both the leader and the led.”

Thanks again, Chris. I appreciate your input—directly and indirectly.

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Thanks for the shout out! When I was a retail manager for a major company, they taught us to ask, “Is there anything else, I need to know,” anytime there was a problem with an employee. I can’t tell you how many times someone brought up things going on outside of work that were affecting them. Instead of writing them up, I was able to direct them to resources the company had to help.

I definitely need to be more consistent in that behavior in life and with fellow believers. It’s easy to get upset with someone, but much harder to dig deeper to the root. If we only deal with the fruit, the fruit will keep showing up. We have to be better at getting to the root to solve problems, understand people and love them like Jesus.

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I appreciate you sharing your story. Children with special needs simply need accommodations to learn more effectively in a school environment. Fairness is not everybody getting the same thing. It’s each person getting what they need to succeed.

I appreciate your kind words. I strive every day to be the best example possible to my students. Thank you again for sharing!


David, thanks for seeking the student out and apologizing. As another commenter said, it is rare that an adult in authority apologizes for wrong conclusions and judgement.

You wrote that you and the student are now close; by being humble, you’ve gained a blessing. You also gave that student a good example to carry with him.

I remember a time when we students made fun of another student (and the teacher got angry at him). He misread words such as “saw” and “was”. He was probably dyslexic (but that was long before that term came into use). I’m ashamed now as I remember that. So many times people act in ways that if we knew why they acted in those ways, we wouldn’t judge or accuse.

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David, thank you for sharing. It is so easy to jump to the wrong conclusions, in many settings. It was impressive that you sought out the boy to apologize. It is a rare thing to see any adult in authority, apologize for wrong conclusions and mistreatment. This will be something neither he or you will forget. Humility always wins!

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Hello, Pete. B is a good question. Due to privacy laws, teachers are not told about a student’s disability unless there is a compelling reason for them to know. You’d think having a special needs child in my class would be reason enough to inform me. But this is not always the case.


Good call, Jeff. When I first started teaching my principal told me, “It’s your class, make sure YOU run it.” The flip side says, if you mess up admit it.
I was able to restore trust and a better relationship with my student by humbling myself. It was the best way to go, and I’ve needed to do it a few times these past 17 years. Thank you for your input.

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I can only imagine how mortified you were…especially when I know I would probably have done just as you did! I recall a time when I taught a college speech class. One student called me out in my own class for giving another student a bit of a break. I had her come to my office immediately after and told her a) it’s my class – don’t ever call me out in public like that again and b) he was suffering from schizophrenia and needed some help. Now don’t YOU feel like the horse’s ass??

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So powerful! Often we have no idea about what is going on in someone else’s life. A good reminder to err on the side of kindnesses, and to ask ourselves if there’s could be some other explanation – one we know nothing about.

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Thanks for sharing your perspective, Gary. It’s sad how things that happened, the way we were unfairly treated by those in power over us, stick with us for life.

Someone suggested the other day that when we feel tempted to judge it’s time to get curious. A little authenticity and empathetic inquiry is a value thing. I fail often as a teacher, but I never want to be THAT guy— the one they never forget for all the wrong reasons.


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Thanks David
Oh man that brings back painful memories of being punished as a kid by teachers and then being the judge of others as well. My nerves were cut off in both arms in a farm accident. When the casts were finally off my music teacher sent me out for not clapping to the music. It was 2 years before I could clap without my muscles seizing up. very painful. Gym class was worse and so on. Ya, hard. Then I do the same to others many times…a good life lesson to learn. “Find out”

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Whenever I feel myself edging towards judging another, I feel God over my shoulder approaching and whispers “hey that’s my job”. Usually when we are in a space of judgement, it stems from a space within us that we need to confront and accept. All these life lessons, divinely timed and received for us to learn and grow from. This post is a great reminder for all of us. Thank you David🙏

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