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  Chapter 22 from
It's Not As Tough At Home As You Think
Making Family Life Smoother and Better

By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski 

Other Available Chapters
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Its The Strangest Thing

To err is human. We all know that. Mistakes are not only excusable, they are even expected. Repeating the same mistake is not expected nor is it excusable. It has been said that insanity consists of doing the same thing and expecting a different result. We expect rational people to be sane.

My father would tell a charming story. In the horse-and-buggy days, a traveler hired a taxi and after telling the driver his destination said, “Be careful to avoid that particular road. There is a huge pit there.”

“Just sit back and relax,” the driver said. “I’ve been driving these roads for 35 years.”

A bit later the passenger said, “Look, I can see where you’re heading. Don’t go that way. That road has a huge pit.”

“Didn’t I tell you not to worry?” the driver said. “I’ve been traveling these roads for 35 years.”

As they approached the road the passenger said, “For heaven’s sake! Turn around! You’re approaching the pit!” Again the driver reassured him.

Shortly afterward they fell into the pit. As they crawled out from underneath the overturned coach, the driver said, “It’s the strangest thing. I’ve been traveling these roads for 35 years, and whenever I come by here, this is what happens.”

You are entitled to make a mistake once. If you didn’t put two and two together, you can be forgiven for making the same mistake a second time. But the third time cannot be justified.

Situations within the family tend to recur much more often than with strangers. We may make a comment or do something which offends another family member. Repeating the same mistake a number of times indicates a total lack of consideration. We can hardly expect to be forgiven if we are inconsiderate. On the other hand, avoiding repetition of an irritating behavior will show others that we are sensitive to them. That strengthens the relationship.

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