This morning, on Mother’s Day, I got into the car with my wife and newborn to go for brunch with family. As I got onto the highway, I said “I’ll bet anything that we pass a cop on the way.” I’ve believed for a while now that they’re always out in force on holidays because there are more drivers to give tickets to. Moments later, we passed a police car with lights on and I counted that as one more piece of evidence in support of my theory. On Mother’s Days, Father’s Days, Christmas Eve, back to school time (before Frosh weeks) and more, if you’re wondering where the police are, these are the days to spot ’em.
This morning, I realized that my changed context (having a newborn on board) had impacted my attitude and my interpretations. Sure, the extra police presence on these days is likely related to the extra traffic they know will be on the road, but I saw that I had a choice in how to interpret this. While it is certainly possible that giving tickets is easier, it is equally possible that the police are watching more attentively on these days to keep the roads safer for the people who, like me, were travelling to spend time with loved ones.
Like in this situation, there are often many possible interpretations to explain a given event or series of events. We can choose to interpret things in the best possible way or the worst possible way. We can interpret to make ourselves seem right, or we can interpret to learn what actually is right.
Today’s lesson was clear for me: on the road, drive slowly and take an extra second for safety. In our minds, we should take an extra second to consider other possible interpretations. In both cases, the result can be a happier, healthier life.
Happy Mother’s Day to all who have given life.