I just read something great and wanted to respond. This is an article written from the mother’s perspective with the purpose to thank a stranger for their intervention on the playground.
I want to thank you for writing this, the stranger for doing this and anyone else brave enough to do the right thing.
My experience was terribly different but I always find it useful to bring awareness to the negative so we can work on it and the positive so we can harness it.
From 19-22 I worked for a behavioral clinic and foster center for children who were suffering from mental disorders brought about by stress. Sometimes taking them out into the public eye was an easy experience, always really beneficial for the child, and sometimes it wasn’t so great. I had taken my girl to church groups wher
e she would run around and carry on, attracting loads of attention to her but none of the caretakers treated her any differently. We would take 20 minutes deciding ice cream flavors, but nobody treated us any differently. We did loads of things together and no one bat an eye at us.
One summer day, we drove to South Greensburg Park, parked and began walking toward the playground. Before we were able to reach any of the equipment I could hear two children making fun of my kiddo. They were younger than her, probably 6 or 7 and made no effort to hush what they were saying. Calling my girl weird, laughing and literally pointing at her while the mother sat watching them intently on the swing nearby.
Maybe if the situation was less intense I wouldn’t have said anything, but I could see a look of disgust on my little girl’s face for nothing but her thought of existence! She felt bad for just walking to the park, minding her own business. She wasn’t weird, she was wonderful, whether or not you took the time to get to know her, she was just wonderful.
I was so hurt. I walked over to the boys and said, “It’s not nice to be mean to others, could you please be more mindful of what you say.”
The mother snapped at me, “Don’t tell my children how to behave.”
There are few things I remember more vividly than that experience. The realization in person that it really does begin with the parents. If the mother didn’t think making fun of other’s disabilities was wrong, why should her children?
I guess the point I’m trying to make is, yes – whenever the necessity arises to intervene within a confrontation – whether you’re in it or not, you take responsibility to teach them right vs wrong. Not everyone is going to take it as well as the mother who wrote the article to inspire mine, but wouldn’t the world be a better place if they would?
It does take a village.
A village of compassionate and caring people who have a grasp of what is right and wrong. Those people can be the shepherds of our future. There is a lot to be learned from discipline and the proper means to assert it.
Thanks to the mother who wants strangers to tell her children right vs wrong because even if you aren’t there to do it, you would hope someone would be, wouldn’t you? I know I would.
Let us embrace differences and have an interest in understanding how or why it exists. Let us teach our children hands on by teaching in the moment and being outstanding role models for our children.
“Children are great imitators. So, show them something great to imitate.”