A while back, I went to the store, alone, with no kids. Pure Bliss!
I wandered through all the aisles taking my time assessing the prices and practicality and the likelihood that we would actually get use out of this item and that. And yes, I do know what a nerd I am. I own it!
I was leisurely wandering the grocery aisle, enjoying the peace that comes while shopping with no kids, when all of a sudden, this kid on the clear other side of the store (a large store, mind you) is screaming at the top of his lungs! The decibels he was screaming were probably above safety levels.
Now, if you have ever been shopping or even sitting in a restaurant, I am sure this has happened to you. I am sure you hear kids screaming all the time for various reasons. I know I do. At least I notice more now that I have kids.
Most of the time, when I hear these screams, and I am not with my kids or my kids are actually being quiet, I silently rejoice a little inside, thankful that it is not me this time. I do feel empathetic for the other parent whose kid is not being so kind, but I must confess, it makes me a little happy inside.
I had a similar moment on this day…. Until, I saw the kid and the mom. What was so different?
Usually it is the two year old screaming or the baby and that is a cultural expected norm and all us moms knowingly glance at each other. We may try and say something reassuring or assure the mom that it is no bother to us. “We have been there.”, we say.
Or sometimes it is the kind elder that will say, “Oh you’re too cute to be that mad! “(Annoyingly patronizing by the way, though we know you mean well.)
Today it was different. It was a kid that looked to be four to six years of age. He could have been younger.
This boy was screaming and throwing a fit like a two year old for a toy! Now before kids, my thoughts would have admittedly took a judgmental, arrogant turn. “When I have kids one day, my kids will NOT act like that.”
Walk a mile in my shoes. See what I see. Hear what I hear. Feel what I feel. THEN, MAYBE, You will understand why I do what I do. Til then, Don’t judge me. Author unknown.
I took one look at the woman and the kid and it is all I could do to not cry. I have been there. I mean, I have really been there. My 4 to 6 year old has been the one screaming and dragging her feet as I try ungracefully to guide her to the car. My child has been the one running through the mall at breakneck speed. My child has been the one all the people stare at and use as their mantra that their kid will not be like that. I really have been there.
You really cannot predict some of these things and oftentimes, it has nothing to do with parenting or lack thereof. Children break the rules; some kids break them more than others.
I wanted to go over to this mom so bad and give her a hug or help her wrestle her kid to the car. I wanted to say, I know you are doing the best you can. I have been there too. I saw the shame and embarrassment on her face.
I wanted to tell her, hey go home and shake this off. Go put him in his room, go to yours and just breathe or cry or scream or whatever you need to do. I know she felt every stare, every judgment, every thrash of her child against her pained and shaky body and it was all she could do to not cry or scream herself, in anger, frustration, sadness and any combination of the above.
Oh, how many times have I had to go to my room to keep myself safe, to keep my kids safe. One time I drove to a park, locked my kids in the car (Don’t worry, the car was running and I was right there with the key. I had an extra key for some reason with me that day. Divine Intervention?) But I had to get out of the car; I had to walk away.
Then there are times I have let myself sob on my bed, praying and begging for this to pass, wondering why I couldn’t be a better parent, why I couldn’t be calmer, and wondering why my child was so stubborn and strong willed. Why? Wondering and feeling as if I were completely alone. Questions upon questions with no clear answer.
So, I speak to all of us out there, before we are so quick to judge. Before we throw the first stone. You never truly know someone’s lives or what is going on in their lives. But have mercy, don’t make their day even worse. Before you cast that first stone, think about if you have ever made a mistake or if you have ever felt shame? Don’t be the reason someone else feels shame.
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
John 8: 7
All I felt like I could do in that moment, was to pray. To pray for her patience and wisdom and encouragement and for her to make it through the day and to remember that amongst all that negative energy, to not let it ruin the whole day.
Find something positive in the day. How many times have I gone through the day without saying anything positive to my children or my husband?
How many times have I failed yet again by yelling at my children?
So that lady just reminded me to tell you and tell myself, “You are not alone.”
I challenge you to speak positivity in each other’s lives. Speak it to your husband, co-worker, friend, sister, aunt, etc… At the end of the day, we might just make a difference. I’ll end this post with a famous poem.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it:
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark skies flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two steps of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene from my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest of times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testing.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
I have been reading, Transforming Your Thought Life by Sarah Geringer and that is just what’s it is about. Taking our negative thoughts and turning them into positive by meditating on Bible verses and praying.
Every time you judge someone on the street, another mom, the college kid, the business man, the homeless man, even celebrities, it is a negative thought. And that does not come from God.
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