The Most when Shopping

Over the years of motherhood I have read several different parenting things.  One that I believe gets taken out of reality-based-context often is the judgement of others.

I have had strangers give me unsolicited advice.  I ignore them.  Their words mean nothing to me.  How could they?  I don’t know the strangers.  And my kids have known that I will do what I believe is right regardless of who is watching.  So when I threatened my whining daughter once and a stranger stared at me, I stared back.  Go ahead, call someone.  I told the girl to stop or she would lose her treat.  I know the stranger is judging from a place of ignorance of the situation and narrow-minded thinking.  I’m not afraid of strangers.  I feel sorry for strangers who have nothing better to do than judge me.  I wasn’t wrong.  And I highly doubt I’m the most interesting thing out there.

I understand that is my personal perspective.  I have read of several mothers who get very upset about what they believe to be the judgement of others.  I have read of several parents who have said things to strangers about these things.  Personally, I see it as a waste of time and energy.

But, today I wanted to point something out.  Parents – it’s not all about you.  For as much as you think it is all about you and people judging you – it’s not.  It’s also not all about your child.  It’s not.  You ask for understanding and for people to cut you some slack . . but what if it isn’t about you?  What if the strangers are the ones who need to be cut some slack.

I have a dear loved one who can not stand to hear kids screaming.  He can’t.  And he will make comments in public about it.  He is sometimes rude.  I do remind him to quiet down.  Sometimes my words can’t reach him.

Do you know why he can’t stand to hear kids screaming?  He fought in a war where he heard kids screaming.  These kids screamed because they were starving or dying.  He would fly his helicopter close to the ground to throw candy bars to hungry children who yelled to him.  He knows of attacks by the enemy, where a child was sent in to a camp with a bomb strapped to their chest.  The screams in his memory are from his teenage years.  They are screams of children who were not just “working thru a tantrum” at a grocery store.  And although that may be what your child is doing; that is not where his soul goes when he hears those noises.

I have four children.  They have screamed in public.  And they also knew this was not acceptable.  They could stop, or we would leave the store we were in.  You may think letting kids work thru the tantrum is good, but it’s not polite to others around you.  Let them work thru the tantrum in the parking lot.  Do you know what this teaches the child?  It teaches them that the world is not all about them.  They need to learn to be considerate of others.  They do not need to understand the depths of a war-damaged veteran.  But they need to learn to be polite and respectful to those around them.  Because just as you believe strangers don’t understand what you are dealing with; you also don’t understand what the stranger is dealing with.

There is my soapbox rambling for the evening; as I watched a very strong man avoid the grocery store all week due to the increase in shoppers during the holidays – and therefore the increase in noise.

Tonight I am thankful for the parents that understand the balance of their child and the rest of the world.  To me, my children are the most important people in the entire world!  And they always will be.  But, they are growing in to adults some day and there are other people in the world.  I pray they always strive to be understanding and courteous; because you never know what is going on in someone else’s mind . . so just be kind.

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