April Jeppson: Extend more grace to the people around you

Published 8:45 pm Friday, October 29, 2021

Every little thing by April Jeppson

I’m in the middle of washing my hair the other day when I realized that I put the conditioner right on my scalp. I poured it in my hand, emulsified it and plopped it on my head. As I’m massaging it in, it occurs to me what I’ve done. I am dumbfounded as to why I’d make such a foolish mistake.

April Jeppson

Let’s back up a bit. Twenty years ago I went to cosmetology school. I was trained in all things hair, skin and nails. Between chemical theory and the countless practical applications, I learned not only how to apply it but why it’s so important that shampoo goes on the scalp and conditioner goes on the mid-shaft and ends of the hair.

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After I graduated school, I worked in the salon for a few years and then went on to get my cosmetology teaching license. I was the sole teacher for the first four months to all the students that entered our building. I taught hundreds of students the proper way to cleanse and condition the hair. I know the hair strand like Julia Child knows French cooking.

So let’s go back to this week when I put conditioner on my head. Proper shampooing is the first thing taught in cosmetology school. It’s the foundation to almost every other service offered. Even with all my knowledge on the subject, I still made a mistake. I wasn’t paying attention and I just did it. I know better and I still messed up.

This got me thinking. If I’m able to mess up a simple task that I’ve had years of practice in, how much more likely am I to mess up in something I’m not that good at? Not just me, but those around me, too. How about my children? I mean, they don’t stand a chance against these odds.

So then if it’s inevitable that we are all going to mess up something here and there, for the rest of our lives, why are we so hard on ourselves when we do? Why are we so hard on others?

Sometimes mistakes happen because we are learning. Those are my favorite kind, because to me, it’s evidence that I’m living and trying new things. When I should have known better, those are the hardest ones to accept.

I messed up with my conditioner because I was thinking about something else and not fully engaged in my current surroundings. When you know better, you do better.

But it reminded me of my children. They are old enough to know that they need to hang up their church clothes when we get home on Sundays, and yet oftentimes I find dresses and slacks on the floor in their bedrooms. Are they doing it on purpose? Are they trying to make me angry? Absolutely not. They might just be thinking about something else, like how excited they are for lunch.

Once again I ask that you extend grace to those around you. Be kind. We don’t know what’s going on inside others’ homes or in their minds. The mistakes or accidents that others are making, probably have nothing to do with you. They already feel bad for messing up. Give people more smiles and less snarkiness. The world needs it.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.