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






43 responses to “You Didn’t Know?”

  1. Behind the Poem: Steps – Pippi's Poetry Avatar

    […] side of judging others without walking a mile in somebody else’s shoes. David’s post [Here] looks at judging others from a bit of a different angle. Things aren’t always as they appear. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. davidsdailydose Avatar

    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.


  3. Musings&Roses Avatar

    Thank you for this! Nudged me to do a reflecting here and there. It takes practise. to refrain from judging people. I pray we all get there. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dawn Avatar

    Haha! You’re welcome. Blessings! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  5. davidsdailydose Avatar

    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. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dawn Avatar

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. davidsdailydose Avatar

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mitchteemley Avatar

    My response: Cringe. Relate. Repeat.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. davidsdailydose Avatar

    Thank you for sharing your story, as well, Heidi.
    You are so right. Sometimes we just don’t know what others have endured. I appreciate you!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Heidi Viars Avatar

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Chris Hendrix Avatar

    You know I love quotes! Such a fine line between authority add power. It makes me think of some of Jesus’ last words: All authority in heaven and Earth has been given to me. Now I’m giving it to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. davidsdailydose Avatar

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Chris Hendrix Avatar

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. davidsdailydose Avatar

    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!


  15. scribelady Avatar

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. davidsdailydose Avatar

    Thank you, brother Alan. Once I realized my mistake I HAD to try and make it right. The up side is now the little guy and I are very close. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Alan Kearns Avatar

    That lesson in humility sounds very familiar David, they are painful but very necessary in our Christian walk. I admire how you dealt with it brother, good on you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. davidsdailydose Avatar

    Humility always wins! Agreed. I appreciate your comment. 🙏☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pure Glory Avatar

    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!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. davidsdailydose Avatar

    Thanks, Pastor Pete! I appreciate your reading and commenting.


  21. davidsdailydose Avatar

    Yes indeed, Matt. I’m sure you’ve had experiences like this too.

    My flu like symptoms-due to the COVID vaccine- lasted about 12 hours. I am back to normal! Thank you for your prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. jesusluvsall Avatar

    Teachable moments happen for us teachers too

    Liked by 1 person

  23. pastorpete51 Avatar

    I gain more respect for teachers every time you share about your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. davidsdailydose Avatar

    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.


  25. pastorpete51 Avatar

    A) yes there is! Thanks for asking.
    B) do they often an autisic student in a class without notifying the teacher?

    Ps I love a post with great questions!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. davidsdailydose Avatar

    You are kind. Thank you! I appreciate your reading and commenting. Blessings, always.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. davidsdailydose Avatar

    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.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. God Still Speaks Avatar

    Wow, your posts always blow me away with the insights you share with us. I am always thinking after reading what you say.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Jeffrey H. King Avatar

    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??

    Liked by 1 person

  30. davidsdailydose Avatar

    Thank you, Manu. The little guy and I are on the best of terms now. I try to be the best model possible to my students. Apologizing when I mess up is a good way to do that. Blessings.

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Perth Girl Avatar

    Such a good reminder to not jump to conclusions or be quick to assume the worst of someone else.
    I really admire how you went and apologised to the boy rather than try to justify anything.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Don't Lose Hope Avatar

    Yes, so much!!! Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  33. davidsdailydose Avatar

    Yes! When tempted to be critical, get curious instead. Maybe there is more than meets the eye. So much of ourselves is below the water line. Thank you for your comment!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Betty Avatar

    Thank you, David. You caught me on a good day. I hope you have a great day, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Don't Lose Hope Avatar

    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.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. davidsdailydose Avatar

    You’re welcome, Betty. Humble and kind is a great recipe. You seem to be both of these, along with frugal and funny.🤡 I hope you and Dan enjoy your day as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Betty Avatar

    David, this post is a nice reminder to me to stay humble – and be kind. Thanks for your post, and enjoy your day!

    Liked by 2 people

  38. davidsdailydose Avatar

    Agreed, Barb. Spreading God’s grace all around means it comes back to us as well. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. My Life in Our Father's World Avatar

    We may never know the struggles of others, but giving grace to them (and ourselves) can & help “cover a multitude of sins”.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. davidsdailydose Avatar

    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.


    Liked by 1 person

  41. Gary Fultz Avatar

    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”

    Liked by 3 people

  42. davidsdailydose Avatar

    So true, Maria. Thank you for sharing. It’s so easy to judge others, but this rarely accomplishes anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Ladysag77 Avatar

    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🙏

    Liked by 3 people

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