Parenting is hard.
I am not going to isolate one particular incident because unfortunately I have seen too many. I have also heard and read enough negative, and flat out mean comments to last two entire lifetimes. I will not be a contributor to the negativity. It helps no one.
Here's my comparison. Indulge me if you will...
these ladies start to turn.
Unfortunately I have been on the "ladies" side of the stall. I have looked at images, watched videos, and read stories and thought to myself, "They are doing it all wrong. If they would only do it this way, their child would be better off." Maybe my speculations are true and maybe they are not. Obviously if there is some form of abuse involved then ABSOLUTELY their way is not the right way and something should be done to prevent them from harming their child more.
But who am I to judge a decent "just trying to do their best" parent on how they are parenting? I am a very imperfect parent myself and I spend my days praying very hard that I don't screw up these beautiful souls that God has sent to me. Who am I to say someone is doing something "wrong?" I don't know them and I don't know their child. I can't see what that parent sees and more importantly, I have no right to tell another parent how to raise their child.
One more comparison and then my ranting should be over, but who knows. Once the mama bear gets started...
I don't remember any of the ladies in "Dumbo" having a child of her own. So here they all are, having never walked that parenting road on their own, telling Mrs. Jumbo how things should be and what she should do.
Come closer...I want to tell you a secret...You will never know what it is like to do any sort of job, unless you have actually done that job yourself.
My point is this...
In social media land, we get the smallest sliver of information and turn that sliver of information into a giant Redwood tree. We see one small, isolated incident and think that the parent has to be unfit or how would that ever happen?
I lost my daughter at Disneyland once. She was 4 at the time. Does that make me an unfit parent? I literally turned my back for 1 minute and she was gone. I guess I should have been watching her better, right? I should have kept my eyes on her every single minute that we were there, never looking at anything else, or at the other 3 children that I had with me. Then she probably would not have gotten separated from us in a place where thousands of other people were walking around us.
I cannot describe to you what that moment felt like. If you have ever lost a child in a huge place like Disneyland then you can relate. My heart stopped beating the moment I realized she was lost. It felt like an anvil had dropped from a thousand feet above me and struck me right on the head. My feet felt like they were filled with lead and I could not run around fast enough. My brain went blank and I could not for the life of me remember what she was wearing. How would I ever find her if I couldn't describe her to people? It was the longest 5 minutes of my life. Fortunately for me, it was only 5 minutes. Some very kind people had found my little girl wandering around and took her to some workers. I am also fortunate that the people who found her were kind and loving people and not a predator who would have gladly taken her under his/her wing and swept her away.
To all the parents out there who have ever made a dumb mistake, big or small. I've got your back. I feel your pain. Hang in there. You are doing your very best. It will all be okay.
To everyone: WE HAVE TO BE KIND. If a child is in a situation where they are being neglected or abused then yes, we must do everything in our power to make sure that the child can escape that horrible situation and do all that we can to make sure that those who are responsible for the abuse are brought to justice. However, if we cannot fix those situations, and even if those people are not brought to justice in this life, they will not escape punishment from God. And I guarantee you that punishment will be a thousand times worse than anything we could inflict here.
But, if you run across a situation where a parent just had the worst day of his/her life because of a mistake that they made, PLEASE, I beg you. Don't make things worse. Don't contribute to their already guilty conscience and gut-wrenching sadness. Step back. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine what that person just went through and good golly Miss Molly, JUST BE KIND. Ask yourself what you can do to help.
And (just as a side note), if you are that parent who has just been offered a hand of help from a stranger, don't be so quick to anger. Most likely they are not questioning your parenting skills, they are just trying to help you keep your child safe.
KINDNESS- PASS IT ON.
End of rant. Thank you for indulging my raging mama bear post. May we all be a little better at loving one another.