I wrote before about how I have difficulty making friends. So, I decided to follow my own advice and try to reach out to someone. I invited a friend of mine that I have met down here by watching her little one who is around Levi's age to go to the mall with me. Her little one was getting over a cold and was tired. So, in regular toddler fashion, everything made him cry and throw a fit. The mom handled it in the way she thought was best. Oh and I forgot to mention, she is pregnant and due this summer, so she is tired as well. She finally had to put him in the stroller and let him cry it out, not wanting to give in to his fits. We eventually decided it was best we ended our mall trip and head home. She apologized but I told her that she has to do what she thinks is best as a parent and not to worry about it. I totally got it. :) As we were leaving, with her child thrashing in the stroller and screaming, she got lots of looks...you know the kind, the annoyed "why-aren't-you-making-your-child-shutup" looks. Or the looks that say "you are such a bad mother for letting your child cry like that." There was one lady imparticular who looked at the little one with a digusted look then looked at the mom, then look at the little one again. She literally looked them up and down. The poor already flustered but handling it wonderfull mom said, "I am just going to choose to laugh. I feel like crying, but I am going to laugh because it was funny." I was glad she didn't let that lady and the others affect her, but it affected me. I was saddened and convicted. How many times do we judge parents with children who are misbehaving? We don't know what's going on. We don't know the child and we dont' know the parent. And whether or not the parent is making wise choices is not up to us. We would also and do make bad parenting choices frequently, but by God's grace and strength and ONLY by His grace and strength do we ever make good and wise parenting decisions.
Next time we are tempted to judge a harried mom with a just as flustered child or maybe two, let's remember that we probably have been there and know the frustration and overwhelming feelings that mom is feeling. And the fact that it is only by God's amazing grace that we are able to handle those situations. Whether we think that harried mom should handle it differently or not, that's not up to us. We should pray for that parent and child. Pray that God would give them strength, wisdom, peace, and ultimately help them to cry out to Him.
Let's strive to do this next time we see a child throwing a temper because the wise markters placed all the candy in the long checkout lane within hand reach of the little stinkers or the one-year-old wants to throw one more penny in the fountain. Let us extend grace because we were given grace. :)