A Four Minute Story to Make You Think Twice
Inside: A simple lesson on why to stop judging others
Once upon a time, I went to the store, alone, with no kids.
As I was strolling and enjoying the peace and luxury that comes while shopping with no kids, all of a sudden, I hear a kid’s piercing scream from the opposite side of the expansive store. The decibels were well above safety levels.
That wasn’t the surprising part.
If you’ve ever been shopping or even sitting in a restaurant, I’m sure you’ve heard children screaming. I tend to notice the phenomenon more now that I have kids. It happens.
Most of the time, when I hear these screams, and I’m not with my kids or my own kids’ silence is eerie, I silently rejoice a little inside, thankful that it’s not me, this time.
I do feel empathetic for the other parent whose kid is not being so kind, but I must confess, a song may escape from my lips.
I had a similar moment on this perilous day… Until I saw the kid and the mom.
What was so different?
Usually, it’s the two-year-old screaming or the baby. Those cries are acceptable, and all of us moms knowingly glance at each other. We may even try and say something reassuring, such as, “It’s no bother. We’ve been there.”
But, this day was different.
The kid looked to be four to six years of age.
This boy was screaming and throwing a fit like a two-year-old for a toy!
Before kids, my thoughts would have taken a judgmental, arrogant turn.
“When I have kids one day, my kids will NOT act like that.”
One brief glance at the woman and the kid and I had to hold back my own tears.
Because 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 ungracefully guided (no, forced) her to my car.
- My child has been the one running through the mall at breakneck speed.
- I have felt the eyes boring into my body like swords because My child has been the child people stare at and use as their poster child that their kid will not be like that.
But, You cannot predict every behavior and tantrum.
Often, it has nothing to do with parenting or lack thereof.
Sometimes, Children break the rules and some kids break them more than others.
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
What I wanted to do was:
- Give the woman a hug
- Or help her wrestle her kid to the car.
- I wanted to say, “I know you’re doing the best you can. I’ve been there too. Shake this off. Tomorrow is another day.”
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 keep from crying or screaming herself, whether in anger, frustration, or sadness.
Or even a combination of all the feelings.
Oh, How I felt her pain.
How many times have I had to go to my own 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?
Wondering and feeling as if I were completely alone. Questions upon questions with no clear answer.
So, I speak to all of us, before we are so quick to judge. Before we throw the first stone.
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
You never know the whole story.
Have mercy, don’t make their day even worse. Before you cast that first stone, think about if you’ve ever made a mistake or if you’ve ever felt shame? Don’t be the reason someone else feels shame.
We are all more than the worst thing we have done.Just Mercy
All I felt like I could do at that moment, was to pray.
To pray for the mom’s patience and wisdom and encouragement and for her to make it through the day and to remember, Tomorrow is a new 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 and love in each other’s lives.
We cannot fight hate with judgment and assumptions. We must start with love, mercy, and grace.
Speak love to your husband, co-worker, friend, even your enemy… At the end of the day, we might just make a difference.
Every time you judge someone, whether it’s the scantily clad teenager, the man begging for food, or even the mom you pass while shopping alone in the grocery store, it’s a negative thought.
And that does not come from God.
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