The other day I was in a store and the clerk mentioned to me and another woman that earlier a mother had come in with a child and he was causing a ruckus by crying and whatever else he was doing. In situations like this, I’ve heard many people say that all the parent(s) needs to do is spank or beat the kid(s). Before they could really say anything, I said that we never know what the whole story is. The child could be autistic, the mother could be having a really bad day because she found out she has an illness, maybe someone died, or it could be any other number of reasons that we weren’t seeing. And maybe in spite of whatever she’s experiencing, she still had to get some things from the store and didn’t have any other choice but to take her child with her.
Consequently, rather than us going into a state of judgment talking about how awful this child was or how terrible it was that the mother wasn’t keeping her child under control, we took the high road and chose instead to have compassion for her and the child.
We’ve all been there either with our own children or witnessing other parents having a hard time keeping their children under control or trying to keep them from crying in public. It’s interesting how many people immediately rush to judgment and think that using violence on the child is the only answer. Sure, maybe the child(ren) just wants what s/he wants when s/he wants it and the parent said no causing a temper tantrum. Some parents will immediately stop what they’re doing and leave the store. Others can’t as they have to finish their shopping before they can leave.
Instead of jumping to conclusions about what is actually occurring, how about if we show compassion and ask the mom (or dad) if there’s anything we can do to help. Ask with love and kindness in our hearts. “I see you’re having a moment. Is there is anything I can do to help you?” Maybe we can distract the child by talking to him/her. There are any number of things we can try before realizing that the only solution is for the parent to get out of the store with any reasonable sanity left. But we don’t need to judge.
Recently, I saw a great story on Facebook from a “Love What Matters” site about a man who took the high road to help a woman and child on a flight. Someone witnessed this beautiful man’s compassion and wrote, “On a flight back to Georgia, this man, who was a stranger to this woman, offered to help her because she was pregnant and alone on the flight, and her son was upset and fussy. He told her that he was a dad and wanted to help her so she could rest. He walked the aisle most of the flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta comforting this woman's son as if he was his own. I was in tears...not because he was white and she was black...but because it showed me today that there are still good people out there in a world full of turmoil.”
Sure, sometimes your offer of kindness may be met with ‘no thank you,’ or you may even get a nasty response, but it’s what’s in your heart that counts. If you do get a nasty response, please don’t respond with a nasty reply. They may just be beyond frustrated and it has nothing to do with you. You practiced the teachings of Jesus and all the other great Spiritual Masters when you put love and compassion first.
It’s so easy to sit in judgment of others for whatever reasons, but we have got to realize that everyone has a story. We don’t know what anyone is going through. I would highly recommend Googling “Everyone Has a Story” and watch some of the videos. After watching them, you may find yourself being less judgmental and having a little more compassion for others.
Since we don’t know what others are going through, we can help lighten whatever load they may be carrying with little acts of kindness. A smile, a hug, or a sincere compliment can go a long way. Treat people the way you would want to be treated, especially when you’re experiencing any kind of darkness. It’s called the Golden Rule and it’s in most all religions.
The Bible says, “…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12/14)
And Steve Maroboli stated, “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen September 16, 2016.