Yesterday I wrote a post titled, “Bad Parenting And The Park“. If you haven’t read it feel free to do so and come back here.
I knew after I published the post that the title didn’t sit well with me. Then as I sat more with the thought of what I had written I realized I was doing something I’ve done my entire life and that’s something I’m trying to stop, judging. In fairness to my experience and what I saw between the mom and her children and specifically that little boy I think I might have assessed accurately. However, that is not the point and I could be completely and utterly wrong.
This brings me to the point of today’s post. I judged that woman and her child without actually knowing what was going on. I think it was reasonable of me to identify with that woman as being a bit inattentive when it came to watching her child at the park. I think it was also reasonable to identify that the little boy detached from his family and was not very aware of physical danger. These were all things that I witnessed and make no statement about who they are as people or about their lives in general.
The problem with judging is that we make broad conclusions and assumptions about people based on very limited information and mostly not even factual information. There are many things that might have explained the circumstances yesterday. If I took an extreme but not too far fetched idea we could see where this wasn’t too weird of a situation. For example, if this woman just lost her partner to some accident or illness she would likely be devastated. Of course, who knows how the children could respond in that situation as well. It’s easy to see in a situation like that where what I witnessed would be occurring.
So the bottom line is, regardless of how accurate I was in assessing their family situation and/or the validity of that Mother’s ability to parent I should not have judged. I made a broad speculation about her ability to parent and about the mental well being of the child and that was based on 30 minutes at the park. I’m just glad I was aware enough to identify with the fact that I was doing this. After all, if we’re not aware of the things we’re doing right or wrong there’s no way we can begin to change those things.