Overcoming Judgment Between Parents
As a member of the Rotary Club of Miami, I am proud that we are again able to help Miami Kids produce this valuable guide. This is the third year that I have contributed content to this issue. I was pondering about what my focus would be, and I was struggling to make sure that whatever I wrote would be meaningful, insightful and helpful. Then, I was presented with a situation at the grocery store.
A young mother was in the checkout line in front of me. She had a full cart of food with a baby strapped in the cart and a toddler about 3 years old holding her hand. He pulled his hand away to reach for the enticing candy within his reach. She gently explained that they weren’t buying candy as she removed it from his hand to put it back on the shelf. He then let out a blood-curdling scream, threw himself on the floor, kicking and screaming. An older man behind me spoke loud enough for everyone to hear “What a brat. He just needs a good spanking”. I looked around and saw judgement and disdain for what he perceived as failed parenting.
I stepped forward and offered to assist to unload her cart so she could tend to her child. She said he is autistic, and once he begins a meltdown, it takes a while to calm him. I continued to empty her cart and offered to watch her baby as she picked him up off the floor and took him outside. She was so desperate that she made the decision to trust a total stranger with her baby and handed me her credit card. As soon as the transaction was completed, I asked the bag boy to follow me to her car and unpack her bags. By then, she had put her son in his car seat, picked up her baby and as she was putting him in his car seat while thanking me a dozen times.
Meanwhile, another bagboy had unloaded my cart at the cashier’s line for me, and as I was paying, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to tell the rude man behind me that he was unkind and should think before he ever speaks without thinking again.
I smiled the rest of the day as I recalled what had taken place, and realized I had to share this story and challenge others to be nicer, more patient and less judgmental. Parents of all children are usually trying to do their best, but when faced with a child with physical or emotional challenges, they need kindness and patience more than ever.
“Because I will not stand by and live in a world where love is invisible, join me in showing kindness, understanding, and judging less. Be kind to a stranger, give grace to friends and others who are having a bad day. Be forgiving of yourself….today and every day. Be the change. Be the light, start today and never stop”.
Wise words to live by.