Thursday, September 1, 2011
Have you ever watched the show "What would you do?" Hosted by John Quinones on ABC?
Today, I found myself in a situation just like one of their scenarios.
I had to run to Walmart to pick up a few items for the house. I should have turned around when I first walked in realizing it was the 1st and it would be PACKED full of people who were cranky and in their pajamas at 2 in the afternoon.
Instead, I trudged on and got 6 of the 7 items I needed. Then I headed towards the health and beauty section to get some shaving cream. That's when the trouble started. from at least 50 ft away, I hear this lady yelling at her child. Saying things that would make a sailor blush. The little girl was maybe 7 or 8 years old.
I slow down and watch and listen. The gist I got was that the little girl needed to go to the bathroom and kept asking her mom to take her there. Apparently, the mom was more interested in finding the right shampoo and conditioner for her hair than listen to her kid complain that she needed to pee. Well, I guess the mom took too long and the little girl wet herself.
This is when the mom had an full on nuclear explosion. She mad her daughter get out of the cart and starting yelling for everyone to hear "Look at this kid... She chose to pee her pants in the middle of the store. I think everyone should come and look and make fun of her. Maybe she won't do it again next time!"
Right at that moment the little girl looked up at me through miles and miles of tears. expecting more and more people to look at her with judgemental eyes and receive more ridicule from the people that were congregating. In that moment, I thought about every single time people made fun of me in school and the kid who was bullied who is now and adult decided to stand up for the underdog.
I walked over to the mom and politely said "Ma'am, can I talk to you for a second?" she responded... well, shouted "WHAT, Do you think I'm a bad mom for doing this?" I replied "Your daughter had been asking you to take her to the bathroom and you chose not to. I have a three year old. when he says he needs to pee, I take him right then and there. You see how much you are hurting your daughter right now? She's balling her eyes out and is probably feeling about the size of an ant. Please, for her sake knock it off, take her to the bathroom to clean up, and apologize"
Apparently, what she heard was "You're a douchebag who doesn't deserve to be a parent"... well... That's what I was THINKING. She started yelling at me, then back at her daughter more about how she was so embarrassed because of her daughter now. How she would be "handled by papa when they got home", and how she was going to go buy her diapers since she wasn't grown up enough to wear underwear anymore.
This is when I had enough. I told the lady I was going to stand between her and her daughter until a manager had come over to talk to the lady and that she needed to not talk to her daughter anymore until either the manager, cops, or CPS showed up. So as I'm waiting for a manager to show up, other ADULTS start coming over to ME and saying "dude, mind your own business" and "This isn't your fight or your child, leave it alone".
I was dumbfounded. How could OTHER adults allow this to happen? Is it easier for them to ignore it and say "Glad it's not me"? Is it easier for them to just blame it on the child and say "Mom must just be stressed and her daughter drove her over the edge?
At this point, I knew it was a battle I was going to lose. Too many jaded adults who sided with Mom and not the child. I was able to back the mom away enough and then turn around and squat down and tell the little girl "I hope you are ok. IF this is the normal way of life at your house, tell a teacher at school. You don't deserve what your mommy is doing. God Loves you, I've never met you before and I care about you. Tell your teachers so they can help you ok?"
God I've never felt so helpless before. What more could I have done? Called CPS myself? Called the cops?
I felt that childs' pain to the core of my soul. I quickly grabbed my cart and checked out all the while choking back years' worth of tears for the pain I felt when I was bullied by classmates. I went to my car and sat there for a while and just cried and prayed for that little girl.
I remembered reading a chapter in the book "Real Dad Rules" by Dan Pearce. It was called "Real Dads speak softly and with kind words". I thought about his post "Congratulations, you just broke your child".
I thought about Dan while all this was happening. I took away from this that not just Real Dads, but REAL PARENTS don't berate their children. Real parents don't make their kids feel insignificant. Real parents LOVE their kids and shower them with kindness and compassion.
I'm still struggling with myself over whether I should have stayed and called the cops or CPS. Should I have stood by that little girls' side and risked her safety to stand up to her mom (and eventually "Papa")? I'll wrestle with this trouble for a while to come. Go hug your kids, Go show them you love them more than anything in the world. Tell them you love them. Kiss them in public (that's a good kind of embarrassment), lif t them up and help them be the best they can be.
I'm off to shower my son with love.
The Nice Guy