I begin my first inspiration right at the very beginning, when little Polly Plummer meets Digory Kirke and the meeting is not exactly what you might call fantastic.
It begins when Polly, out in the garden, is surprised on seeing a boy scramble up from the next garden door and put his face over the wall.
“Polly was very surprised because up till now there had never been any children in that house, but only Mr. Ketterly and Miss Ketterly, a brother and sister, old bachelor and old maid, living together. So she looked up full of curiosity. The face of the strange boy was very grubby. It could hardly have been grubbier if he had first rubbed his hands in the earth and then had a good cry, and then dried his face with his hands. As a matter of fact, this was very nearly what he had been doing.”
And so is Polly’s first impression of Digory – grubby and dirty – very typically what a young, well-mannered girl of that age might have thought of any other boy, I imagine. Despite her misgiving though, Polly manages to be polite – at firt at least – until, having temporarily forgotten her manners, she comments on how funny Digory’s name is. He then retorts that it isn’t as funny as her’s, Then, unable to control herself any longer, Polly rudely points out that unlike Digory’s, her face is clean. But just before she can get any ruder, she checks herself, remembering that she ought to be polite.
In the next few paragraphs, Digory does admit (like a man) that he had been crying, but only because he had been forced to leave his father and his exciting life in the country to live in the city with an aunt and his mother who was now on her death bed.
At this point, Polly is moved with compassion, and has the heart enough to apologise humbly. And thus begins a friendship that takes the two on an adventurous journey they would never have imagined.
I wonder (if the story were true), what would have happened if only Polly hadn’t apologised? What if she had continued to say mean things to Digory? Would there have been a friendship between them? Would they have journeyed to distant worlds and experienced any adventure at all? Perhaps there wouldn’t have been a story to tell at all…
A lot of the time, in real life situations, we too find it so easy to back-bite or hurt others with our words. Maybe certain people are just so irritating or maybe you happened to wake up on the wrong side of your bed – whatever the reason, we hurt others with the things we say. And seldom do we apologise. So there ends any seed of friendship or a relationship of any kind.
One of the keys in good communication is not only being well-mannered, but also to apologise when you’ve made a mistake. Some may think it’s below their dignity to do so, but that’s far from the truth. Rather, admitting your mistakes and saying you’re sorry is a show of character. It shows the other person that you’re willing to take responsibility for your words and actions. It shows that you respect others and their feelings as much as you do your own. And saying sorry also earns you respect in return.
So, the lesson in communication is: Admit your mistakes and apologise when you’re at fault – it speaks volumes about your character and can earn you respect and a good friend.
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