I will blush to admit it, but I have been very quick to judge. Specifically kids’ behavior in public, and a parent’s tone of voice.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged, do not condemn, and you will not be condemned, forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:27)
I am willing to believe I am now in the position I am in because at one time I was so “quick to judge” a child (any child behaving a certain way) as spoiled.
What I know now:
- Those signs I used to gauge “spoiledness” are normal developmental stages for most children.
- It is when they hang on, or succeed in manipulating the behavior of the parents that they become true signs of “spoiling.”
- Five minutes (or 20 minutes) of observation is not enough for me to determine what level the signs are at.
I would believe somebody thought one or two of my kids were spoiled, and I’d equally understand their lack of belief in my objectivity if I told them the kids were “normal.”
But I think they are.
How like a mom. But I’m not trying to change their minds because I’ve settled in my mind that there just some things you don’t know until you know. (YDKUYK)
My first child I let “cry it out” (CIO) when she didn’t want to go to sleep at night. I wasn’t going to be this mom who was manipulated by my baby’s tears. I felt confirmed in this when she always zonked in 5-10 minutes after I left her alone.
I didn’t believe anyone who said CIO was cruel or “didn’t work.”
Until I had Baby #2. And CIO simply didn’t work.
Seriously. I’d had one where it worked, so I knew what to do.
But I didn’t jump on the CIO-is-BAD bandwagon, because I’d had one that it was perfect for.
And I began to understand the *why* of people’s misunderstanding. Their view of the world does not yet include the reality of what is being described. Your experience really is the largest determiner of your behavior and beliefs. I think it would be hard for things to be otherwise. It takes practice, anyway.
So today when I saw a light-hared young mom snapping at her two slim, blond girls, with their toe-headed little brother looking dazedly back at them, I wasn’t mentally clicking my tongue at her tone, I was thinking, That could be me in three years. And, yeah, my girls do need (or at least deserve) to be snapped at sometimes. I get it.
When I see things now, I pray for the other person, and myself, becasue it’s not easy to perform before the world in such a personal event, and I thank God I’m not having immeadiately to make those choices myself.
The latest example that inspired this post is my kids, most frequently the 2- and 3-year-old, occasionally decide to see if I really mean what I say.
They do not wait until we are at home and in the “proper environment for training.” Like the rest of humanity they want what they want when they want it. Not when mom or dad feel ready or free to give it to them.
At church, I have heard one of them wigging out and gone to relieve the nursery worker of the responsibility of parenting my child. It’s not her job to listen to him scream until he’s ready to find a new object of interest.
However, it is really hard to make this look like parenting instead of rescuing a child. We get “looks” for doing this.
Never from the nursery-worker, though. And I know when it’s my turn in there I don’t want to be alone with a screaming child I’m not good enough for.
Only once have I had a worker say, “We can get through this,” when I poked my head in. I was very thankful, because I do think it’s better for the boy to stay and work things out there, but I don’t want to make life harder for the lone adult with 4-7 children under 4.
Having been on the snappin end of things late, I have also realized how judgmental I was. I was also a bad one for assuming that kids were badly parented. Now I pray that people will be understanding of me and my kids and forgive me and them when we are less than perfect. You really don’t know until experience has happened.
*gasp* Oh yeah, I have had my come-uppance. I was one of those who could NOT beLIEVE those PARENTS who WON’T keep their CHILDREN QUIET in CHURCH.
Now I is one. Oh, the shame!
The hard thing is when I see/hear younger people making this same mistake. I want to rescue them from this judgmentalism. . . It is SO hard to keep my mouth shut, but I know they wouldn’t listen to me anyway and it would do no good. All it would do is waste my breath and damage our relationship.
@ Purple Moose:
Isn’t it awful when you can’t keep people from your own mistakes?! They seem so obvious from the other side I just cringe.