My kids tend to be lazy about laundry. They will check the dryer, say the clothes are damp, and run them for another 20 or 30 minutes. I get a little irritated because it's untruthful, and expensive.
Saturday I found my breaking point. I started the dryer, then went to the gym. I came back and Grace said she restarted the laundry. I was a little peeved, but whatever, maybe they were damp. I disappeared into the blackhole of cleaning my bedroom. When I circled through 4 hours later, the dryer was still running. I went off as I threw dry clothes all over the living room. "Are you all so lazy that you won't even fold a single load of laundry. Etc, etc...." Nobody contradicted me, each asuming the others were to blame for my tirade.
Right before bed, I threw another load in the dryer and set the timer. The next morning, the dryer was still going. The timer is broken. Not only that, the heat is broken so that no matter how long the dryer runs, the clothes are still damp. It suddenly washed over me that I had unjustly and falsely accused my kids.
It made me stop and think. Their past behavior contributed to my assumptions. The evidence led me to my conclusion about their behavior, but in spite of all the past circumstances and the evidence pointing in that direction, my conclusion was wrong. The dryer was broken.
I wondered how often in life we misjudge people's actions because of their past behavior or because we have misinterpreted the evidence that we see. It reminded me of the importance of assuming the best, and asking questions before reaching a negative conclusion about others.