As a boy, I spent time in foster care then lived with my dad for a while. He hadn’t been a part of my life for years, but for that short season he tried to be a real father to me. Since he didn’t know how to connect with me through conversation, he showed me affection the only way he could: he cooked.
One Saturday morning, he slid some bacon and eggs in front of me, and I noticed a yellow spreading across the plate. “I can’t eat this,” I said. “The eggs are all runny.”
His reaction was so angry you would have thought I had physically assaulted him. “You’re so ungrateful,” he growled. Then he turned and walked off.
It took me years to understand that, without meaning to, I had rejected more than a plate full of eggs. I had rejected his attempt to show me love.
That situation taught me to consider other people’s perspective and to be careful with my response when someone is expressing their generosity to me. What’s the motivation beneath their gift? Even if their expression isn’t perfect, they could be doing their best to say, “I love you and want to connect with you.”