Last week I took Mikayla to the indoor playground at our local mall. It’s small and not as fun as an outdoor playground but it had been rainy and I knew everything would be wet and muddy. Plus, there’s a Great American Cookie Co. and we love an M&M cookie after lots of playing.
As soon as I sat down another mom walked up and sat right next to me. She commented on how cute Mikayla is and then immediately pointed out a couple little boys who she said were “bullies” and suggested I keep an eye on Mikayla so that they don’t hurt her. I politely thanked her and went back to my book. Not two minutes later Mikayla came over to me and I could tell by the expression on her face that something had happened that bothered her but she wasn’t crying and I didn’t see anything happen so I just told her to go play. I looked up to see the same mom who had been so quick to warn me about the bullies. She apologized because her precious little girl had pushed Mikayla down.
First of all, the “bullies” were just toddlers – two, maybe young three year olds. Can you really identify a two year old as a bully after observing him for a few minutes on a playground? Maybe in extreme cases. But as much as I could tell the two boys were just running and laughing and playing – like all of the other kids. Secondly, maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to label someone else’s child. Toddlers push. It happens. I don’t think this little girl is a bully – I think she’s a toddler. As moms, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to think of our own children as incapable of wrong and shouldn’t be so quick to judge children we don’t know based brief observations.
You don’t know the story of other people you encounter – children or adults. You don’t know their struggles, their home life, their medical needs. If a child is different from your own, be gracious and kind. Yes, there are children who are bullies and you should always make sure your children are safe. But, there are also children who are just different (for many possible reasons) and you may learn something from them – or, at the very least, you may teach your child to be gracious and kind to people who are different rather than being judgmental and superior.
I know I’ve been guilty of the same at some point or other – especially before having a child. And, if I’m being honest, I would still be less aware of my own judgmentalness if my child were “typical”. The fact that Mikayla has Williams Syndrome has destroyed a lot of my preconceived ideas for what a parent should or shouldn’t do. And, I’m definitely not without fault even now.
It is a very difficult thing to view people as God does. We are all less than perfect. We are all in desperate need of a Savior. We are all trying to figure out what in the world we’re doing when it comes to raising children. We are all loved immensely – faults and all – by the same Father.
Less judging + more graciousness = a happier planet
…or something like that.