This is part 17 of excerpts from the trail log which was located on a New York portion of the Appalachian trail. For the post which explains this series, click here. Each new edition includes a quote from a hiker, along with this writer's insight into what the person might have meant. Your interpretation may be different!
Following is my selection of this week's thoughts of a hiker.
June 19, 2016
"Do not judge the ignorance of others, there was a time when you did not know what you know."
This was written with quotation marks, so I figured it was a quote I would be able to find online. I did the obligatory google search and the closest thing I could find was something said by Malcolm X. He said, "Don't be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn't do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today. "
The bottom line was that on Saturday, June 19th, 2016, on a gorgeous 80 degree sunny day, someone was hiking in the woods and this is the quote that was on their mind. There's no way to know why, but I speculate that someone in their life was judging them, or judging someone else. Which is frustrating in the best of times.
It is so easy for all of us to judge others, often in a negative way. Someone asks a question that we know the answer to, and we think "Wow, what a stupid question, the answer is so obvious." And sometimes our response can bring our negative attitude across, making the person feel dumb for asking the question.
And other times, someone might say something and we automatically jump to our own conclusions about what they mean. But we are judging their words based on our own experience, and what they said might not be what we heard.
The reverse is also true. I remember times in the past where I would say something that I thought was very straight forward. Then the person I was talking to got upset. When we got to the bottom of the situation, they were upset because they judged my words to have a meaning that was nothing like what I meant.
Our interactions with others would all be more productive (and nicer) if we remember that we all come to the table with different knowledge sets, and different histories. If someone asks a question of any kind, kudos to them for asking! We should take a breath, smile, and answer the question. And if someone says something that sounds argumentative or contrarian, and our first response is to take offense or get angry, remember that they might not have said what you thought they did. Take a moment, restate what you heard, and say something like, "I heard you say (blah blah blah), is that what you meant?" And then decide whether there is something to take offense to.
And now, to get back to our hiker. The motivation for this hiker's choice of quote is unknown, but I hope whatever judging was going on in his or her life was resolved positively.
For more thehousekat.com Hiking-related posts, click here.
Originally published at thehousekat.com.