I’m done. I am worn out. I am so tired to seeing folks hurting others with their comments and freely shared views on social media and other outlets.
The thing is, they don’t mean to, I’m sure. These are good people. And just like me, they hurt other people without even realizing it. Still…..
This past week there has been a story that has gone viral. The one about a restaurant owner/manager who yelled at a toddler to stop crying.
And even with those words, my words trying to sum it up in a nutshell, I’ve done what so many of us do–ignored that there is another side to the story.
Two sides, a crying baby, parents who may or may not have tried to calm the child, maybe some frustrated clientele, maybe not, and a frustrated restaurant owner who yelled because she had had enough. They all agree that she yelled at the child. She admitted as much.
What has made me the saddest are the people who have come out on the side of the restaurant owner–as if it is EVER okay to yell at a child like that.
Just to be clear with my stance–
In my opinion, that is NOT okay.
Children, as is their nature, are going to have “melk-downs,” as our Princess used to call them. It’s inevitable. What happens after those breakdowns is in large part determined by the adults around them. And when those adults are overwhelmed, things can get ugly very quickly.
My friend, Karen Spears Zacharias, wrote A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder. That book changed me. It made me aware of what role we all play in the prevention of child abuse. With a kind word, offering support, encouragement, offering a helping hand–we can often diffuse a volatile situation and maybe even change a life.
Yes, naive or not, I do believe that.
In response to the story of the child in the restaurant, one of my aunts wondered why the manager didn’t try to distract the child. With a straw, a plastic spoon, something, saying that this was something a good manager would do.
We’ve been to restaurants where the waitress pulled out packs of saltines from her pocket to give to the little ones. Then there’s the crayon and paper menu go-to for distractions. Over the years I’ve learned to keep someTHING in my purse for just such occasions. Markers, paper, pencil, something to keep them occupied. But when I was starting out with my first little one, I had no idea. I had to learn from others how to handle those moments.
And yelling doesn’t cut it.
My parents in their last years carried around copies of their favorite children’s book in the trunk of their car. Daddy was known to head back out to the car from the pizza place or a doctor’s appointment to get a copy for a child they met. He also loved perusing the Matchbox cars section of stores. He picked up interesting and different ones, in addition to the ones he collected as special. He usually had one or two with him or in Mama’s purse at doctor’s appointments. To share with whatever children they might meet.
You don’t get much better than a new little car for a distraction.
Notice, I said–in their later years. After all of us were grown and they had learned what worked and what didn’t.
This young couple in the restaurant–I’m thinking they are just learning too. I’m sad that there is so little grace for them, and yet grace is being given to the woman who chose to yell AT A CHILD instead of handling it in a manner that would be kinder.
And that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?
“I don’t care who is right or who is wrong. I care who is being KIND.”
– Nanea Hoffman’s daddy
Sounds a lot like my Mama, who would often add–“I’m sure you’re all really very wonderful.”
I’m trying, Mama. I’m trying.
Y’all, we can do better. We can step outside our judgments of who is right and who is wrong and BE KIND.
And maybe tote a little Matchbox car around in our pocket for good measure.
So many folks say, “I wouldn’t want to be raising children in this day and age.” I get it. It’s not easy. That’s why those of us doing it right now sure could use the encouragement and support and KINDNESS of those around us.
Let’s forget about who is right or wrong and Just. Be. Kind. That’s everything.
Love to all.