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Careful When Judging

13 Sep

I normally do not rant on my blog, that is all about to change.

This is what I have to say. I am going to say it as loud and clear as possible.

When you are out in the world, at a restaurant, grocery shopping, driving in traffic, or at the doctor and you see a child screaming or a mother losing her cool and grabbing her child by the arm and being stern; BE CAREFUL BEFORE YOU JUDGE THEM. Be careful placing judgement upon others for you know not what battles they are fighting. 

It has been months since my family went out to eat. We went out for a bite at a local, casual restaurant. Very loud, very kid friendly or so we thought. At the end of the meal the waitress, who was very sweet, became very overwhelmed with her tables. A young man came in and was singing while playing the acoustic guitar, and a very unfriendly table had just sat behind us. Our little one was really struggling so my husband decided to take him home, and our oldest son refused to leave and stayed with me. He wanted to see the guitar player, but I had to wait for the check. All hell broke loose. He started screaming, the table behind us was in my face, and the large table of young 20 somethings was looking at me as if they should call DFCS on me for grabbing my son and walking away. Now my son is screaming at the top of his lungs and I put my hand over his mouth, at this time he proceeded to bite my hand, just narrowly missing breaking the flesh. All the while the entire restaurant was staring. Let me point out that this hasn’t happened to me in quite some time, and typically it doesn’t bother me, this time it did.

 

As I left the restaurant I wanted to walk back in and confront the 2 tables that were staring at me like deer in headlights. I wanted to say something like this.

“It isn’t polite to stare, but since you are let me break it down for you. This is my 5-year-old son. He suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Prader Willi Syndrome and autism. Although he may look “normal” to you, I assure you he is fighting many battles. Before you judge my behavior regarding how I handled my son you should know this. I only slept for 3 hours last night. My son is sick and when that happens his behavior becomes more than any of you could understand. My husband and I are in the middle of the most difficult financial time of our lives, and I am dealing with my mystery medical issues that seem to elude my doctors. I am human, I am not a robot. I have one child with PWS and autism, and a second with hyper-activity and mood dysfunction disorder. I may have looked like a crazy woman to you, but you couldn’t imagine that I have been up handling this since 4am today. As the parent of a special needs child we are “supposed to stay calm and not lose our cool.” Unfortunately for me I am not perfect and I do lose my cool on occasion, tonight was one of them. I can say this with absolute certainty. Most people in the world could not walk a day in my shoes, most people could not even begin to comprehend what a typical day is for me, let alone these days where things are just not going well.

Tonight I write not just for myself. Tonight I write for my thousands of extended family members. My family of parents/grandparents and caregivers of those with special needs. Tonight I write for them. Tonight I come to you and challenge you to this:

When you see a situation like me taking place, don’t stare. I challenge you instead to offer a hand, offer your heart and see if that parent or caregiver could use some help. I will tell you that a smile goes a really long way. A smile goes a really long way in the heart of a special needs parent in the midst of a crisis with their loved one.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world”-Ghandi

Help me spread the word and please share this blog with all of your friends.

Namaste and thank you for reading.

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15 Responses to “Careful When Judging”

  1. barbarapotter September 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Wow I know how you feel. It happened to me in Georgia when I was watching the kids for you and I took Blaise to Karate 30 miles away. After Karate I promised them a treat with a gluten free pizza at the Mello Mushroom down the road. Blaise was so excited because this only happens a few times a year and I was so happy too. Things went pretty well in the restaurant with the both of them. I was alone too which is a little difficult as you know. Well the little one broke loose under the table and ran out of the restaurant into the parking lot and the the older one started to scream. What to do. Had to leave one to save the other. I have to tell you that everyone in the Mellow Mushroom was staring at the grandmother who I am sure were thinking I was either loony or had bad kids or could not handle. Whatever not one person offered to help except to say the 3 year old (hyper) ran out the door which just pushes open into the parking lot. So easy for him to do. Thanks for letting me know. He is fast and it took me a few moments to get out from the table myself. I almost had a damn heart-attack thinking he would be hit by a car because he is a little peanut and you have no idea how scared I was. He thought it was funny and kept running through the lot. In the meantime the older one with Autism and PWS was still by himself at the table. I had not a second to spare chasing the little one for his life. I can still feel the looks I was getting. Employees, customers. Do you think anyone tried to stop the 3 year old peanut from pushing the door open to the parking lot. They did tell me he ran out but that was the extent of it. If you saw a little 3 year old push a door open and run out into a busy parking lot would you just watch. No just stares at me. Wow. I finally got him back in paid and packed up. The stares continued and it was not a nice feeling. Thanks for writing this Rach. Believe me I know what your shoes are like. Love Mom

  2. Tanya September 13, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Hi
    I dont usually make the effort to respond to blogs…even though Im very opiniated. However this just stirred my guilt and really made me feel quiet ashamed. From the bottom of my heart I say Im sorry I judged you and other parents like you. As a mother of a child who was so close to a perfectly behaved- baby, toddler and child, I never experienced any of the issues and trying times you described. Although I never thought that my daughter’s good behaviour was due to good parenting, I actually thought that God had intervene and had made sure I had a well behaved child otherwise I would have probably have gone insane. I must admit if I had been in the restaurant with you, I would have definately thought you a bad parent. I now wish I could re-live the many times I have looked down my noise at mothers and fathers in situations like the one you describe. I make this promise to you, the next time Im in a restaurant and a child acts out, not only will I consider and empathise with the parents I will make the effort to offer help and support. Thank you for making me take a good look at my judgmental self.

    • rachyrachp September 14, 2012 at 7:24 am #

      Tanya,
      Your message just made me cry. Thank you for your honesty and understanding. You are exactly what we need more of in this world. You really just made me day. Thank you so much for reaching out.

      Namaste-

  3. shoes September 14, 2012 at 12:41 am #

    Wow, if I could I would push the like button many times on this one. You just don’t know what others are going through, what their daily lives and struggles are. When my knee jerk reaction is to judge and thing I am better or could do better than someone else I stop and remember that. Kindness, we could all do with a bit more of it and a bit less of judgment.

  4. tstarmom September 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Love it. Great post! I just found your blog on facebook and I can’t wait to read more. My son has apraxia (speech disorder) and while he’s usually good in public, I have learned so much from having a child that is uniquely different. Yes, I get “looks” but usually b/c he babbles more like a 2 year old than the 4 year old boy that he is. I have never been one to judge people, but shame on others for the stares! And good for you for passionately putting it out there for everyone else to read & hopefully learn something. I’ve been taking a biomedical approach with Jake and he’s been on a new diet with supplements for the past 2 weeks. His temperment has been all over the place while his body is adjusting- crying for no reason, hyperactivity, zero focus. Just proof that you never know what’s going on in a child’s body.

  5. mustsleep September 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Some days my best sucks but I’m always trying.

    Thanks for this reminder that it’s true of others too. I’m sorry you had such a negative experience. I’ve worked with autistic kids and kids with Prader Willi – they are blessings in this world, but it’s also challenging at times to be the adult responsible for them.

    Major blessings to you and your family.

  6. Solo Ono September 14, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. ~Longfellow

  7. slpsouto September 15, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Love and I relate!

  8. Joy C September 18, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    I have definitely been in your shoes. It has given me a new outlook when I see a child (or parent) “acting out”. There is always more going on than a spectator realizes.

  9. ManifestYogaJen September 18, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Manifest-Station and commented:
    In case you missed this. Put down what you are doing and read. And share. Love you guys xo jen

  10. jamesvincentknowles September 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    When I was a very young kid, maybe 5 or 6, I recall going grocery shopping with me mum one day, and I can recall this clearly: I saw a kid my age wearing a sort of halter (like those kinds some dog owners use, the kind that go around the dog’s chest, not really a collar but a sort of contraption like a saddle without a seat) and hooked up to this halter was a leash. The kid’s mother was doing her grocery shopping too. Her child was trying to grab e v e r y t h i n g within reach. I recall quite vividly how outrages & upset it made me feel to see that & how I ran to my mother to tell her what I’d seen & as I pointed at the kid in the contraption I was on the verge of tears.

    I thought, “How terrible”~! “Is this going to happen to me”?

    My mother must have seen the fear on my face because she very quietly & gently said to me, “Jim, don’t worry, that child’s mother love’s him & isn’t hurting him, she’s just keeping him close. He likes to play a lot & she needs to buy food. She’ll let him play when they go home from here. She’s not hurting him, he just needs a little extra help so he won’t get lost in this big store.”

    I recall my mother reassuring me I didn’t need a contraption because we were blessed and that I needn’t worry about the other child, his mother loved him just as much as my mother loved me, & that was that. The subject never came up again.

    Perhaps it was my mother’s love that calmed me from my fear, I think probably that is so, but as I think back on it, I recall the kid with the leash seemed happy enough to be connected to his mother & his mother seemed perfectly calm as well but I know one thing, if my mother had allowed me to make a big fuss over the kid on the leash, I’d have been in big trouble for judging another.

    I admit I’ve pointed my finger at adults who behave badly all my life, probably no more than anyone else does, but I’ve very gradually learned (& still am), that not everyone understands what really matters in life, not everyone has empathy or compassion. I’ve learned that fighting against war IS war. That fighting against something is perpetuating it. I’ve learned that expecting another to care about me or understand me will not achieve the result I need. That the only thing I can do is the best i can do & to realize most other people are probably doing the best they can too. That as long as I hold my head up & keep learning, moving on from my mistakes without judging myself or others but just keep on learning & sharing & connecting, life seems to get better in little increments & once in a while in big ones.

    You’re a brave woman, Rachel. The most amazing thing anyone can be is a mother.

    just love

    James

    • rachyrachp September 19, 2012 at 7:28 am #

      Much love James.

  11. dania.nawaz September 19, 2012 at 1:57 am #

    This is beautifully heart-wrenching! My heart goes out for you, and for all these children. I wish there was something, anything, that I could do to help, but I know that all we can do is pray. So I just want you to know, you’re in my prayers, and everything’s going to be fine soon! I request everyone to share this post too, because the world needs to see this.

  12. Norman Cooper September 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    We don’t often have the opportunity to peek into the private lives of others, which allows us to make assumptions based on our own personal experiences. The guy weaving through traffic on a rainy day, is he late to work or did he just learn his wife has been taken by ambulance to the emergency room? The seemingly rude waitress, does she not like her job or is she worried about making rent since her ex failed to pay his child support…again? We don’t take the time to try to understand they why, because we feel it’s intrusive. Or sometimes, we just don’t have the opportunity. We MUST help where and when we can. We MUST throw off the shackles of fear and offer, if nothing else, an ear to listen. Great post!

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  1. Grant Me Strength | 3wordsfor365 - September 16, 2012

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