“[D]on’t confuse “reasonable” with “realistic.” Reasonable means “makes sense.” Realistic, on the other hand, means “likely to happen.”” — Mark Goulston, Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
I can think of nothing more reasonable than parents setting a curfew for when their teenagers should be home in the evening. But how realistic is it to think that said teenagers will celebrate and support this decision.
Think about our eating habits. The cook of the house lays out the evening meal “buffet style” and everyone lines up and fills their plate and gathers around the kitchen table and eats until they are full. Some family members may go back for seconds, some may not. Take that same family out for dinner at a restaurant that serves their menu buffet style and it is reasonable to think that the family would eat the same way—fill their plate and eat until they are full and quit. But how realistic is that? Almost certainly, because they want to “get their money’s worth” everyone will probably go back for seconds, thirds, and maybe fourths and then top it off with dessert, eating until they are stuffed.
Bottom line, it is reasonable to expect people to not act reasonable all the time. (Maybe seldom!)
It’s reasonable to eat until you’re full and quit.
It’s reasonable to not spend more money than you earn.
It’s reasonable to be a good sport whether you win or lose.
It’s reasonable to not jump to conclusions but rather to check your sources and check your emotions.
It’s reasonable to expect your fair share of red lights, waiting in line, and the occasional rainy day without complaining and grousing about it.
But how realistic is it that people will always do the reasonable (what makes sense) thing?
Sadly, we see this principle played out everyday in situations where the stakes are so much higher.
What to do?
The ONE THING for today:
Make your life easier and make the world a better place by you being reasonable (doing what makes sense) but being realistic enough to not expect the same from others. It’s called being civil, kind, patient, a grace-giver. Until enough of us become realistic enough to do this our world will only become more angrier and divided.