Why did you do that? That was a ridiculous thing to do. Don’t you know better?
We say these phrases often in different ways. We judge others through our lens, through what we know now. And we forget that we didn’t know once. We were them.
The things that are common sense to me may not be common sense to others. The things that are common knowledge to me (or in my tribe) because of how I grew up or the experiences I’ve had may not be common knowledge to you.
But, this doesn’t mean you are stupid.
And yet, we often respond to others in a way that communicates that this is what we think.
Empathy and grace respond differently. They remember we, too, didn’t know once. We, too, had to learn. This is true about drawing a picture to baking a cake to building a wall to leading a team.
When we can shift from “Why on earth did you do that?” to “Let me show you and help you try again” everyone wins. It is not easy, but everyone wins.
Remembering what it felt like not to know how to do something is one of the most important skills you can develop. It’s extremely hard work.
Do it anyway.