I have several blogs that I LOVE and read (almost) daily. At least I visit them (almost) daily. I find myself very disappointed when there is not a new post. Don’t these bloggers know that I depend on their words to escape or de-stress or get a laugh for the day? How could they leave me hanging like that? (Eh-ehhm) I’ll be back to this in a minute…. come with me to a post I started working on last week but didn’t finish…
Things My Children Have Taught Me – Compassion
Every now and then I think back to a time when I was younger and thought I was much wiser. I remember one day walking through a grocery store and watching a toddler throwing an absolute meltdown fit and the mother just saying, “Now Sally, you stop that right now or we’re going to go home.” I thought to myself, “Go HOME??? What she needs is a good spanking, that will fix the problem!” Well, fast forward a few years and join Cathy the Foster Mother in Wal-Mart where her two year old is throwing the same kind of fit. What did I say? “You stop that right now or we’re going to go home!” It’s funny how immediately my mind went back in time to that other mother and child.
I wondered how many women were looking at me thinking things like, “Can’t you control your child?” or “If she were my child, I would just spank her!” There’s no way they could know that she is not MY child and I’m not allowed to spank her. There’s no way they could know that she had only been with me for two days or what was going on in her little life to cause her to throw the fit in the first place. But the truth is, even if she were mine and even if I could spank her, I can’t guarantee that she would never throw a fit in public. I learned an important lesson from that little fit throwing episode. Now when I see a mother with an out of control child I am filled with compassion because I realize immediately that I have no idea what she’s really going through at that moment, but I know it’s not easy for her. What if she’s a foster mother who just took a child with major behavioral issues? What if she’s the biological mother who is doing everything right but her child is STILL out of control. Sometimes when I’m walking in the daycare and I see a child laying on the floor and the parent pleading with them to get up and go, I just smile and think, “I’m glad mine aren’t the only ones who do that” and I whisper a short prayer for that mother because last week mine was the one on the floor.
I’ve learned that it is very easy to look at the surface of a situation and judge. We compare what we think we would do to what they are doing and we pat ourselves on the back because we just know we would do better. There are two problems with that. One, we often don’t know all the facts. I didn’t know what was going on with that mother and daughter in the store, yet I judged her anyway. The other problem is that we likely haven’t been where they are. You can’t truly understand what someone is dealing with unless you’ve walked down that road yourself. Even if we have experienced what they are experiencing, there may still be details that make it different for them.
It is always easier to judge and be critical, but oh, how much better is it to be filled with compassion. One of my favorite mental images of Jesus is him looking at people with compassion. He could be judgmental and say, “You deserve what you are getting” but he doesn’t. How many times in the Gospels does it say that Jesus was moved with compassion? I’m not a Bible scholar and I don’t have enough time to research it, but I will say the answer to that question is ENOUGH. It says it enough for me to get the idea that if I truly want to be like Christ, I need to be filled with compassion when I see people hurting or struggling, or battling a strong-willed child in the grocery store.
NOW… back to bloggers who don’t blog… Now that I am trying to become a blogger, I have been given some great insight into the world of bloggers. There are professional bloggers out there who do write regularly. However, most of us are moms, employees, students, wives, etc, and we wear many other hats as well. As for me, I’m a single mother of two toddlers, I work full time, and I’m working on my Master’s degree. Add to that all the court dates, case worker visits, and other time-suckers that go along with being a foster parent, and once again, I begin to have compassion for those bloggers who have much to say but no time (or energy) to get the words down. I was reminded of this yesterday when I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers. Change a few of the names and details about the kids, and this could be the story of my life right now. One more lesson for the books! I’ll try to be more patient with bloggers who don’t blog. By the same token, I hope all five of you reading this will be patient with me if you come to my blog and I haven’t posted in a week. It’s probably a safe assumption that I’m running on fumes, buried under a pile of laundry, or my computer is dead.
Blessings to you!