Don’t judge

Today I saw a man out walking with his two children. He looked like he was tired, stressed, sad or angry; or maybe all of those things and more.

The kids were talking, asking, begging and nagging; it was all going on!

Then all of a sudden the dad turned around and screamed – really loudly – at the kids.

They froze. Everyone around froze. We all looked, some people stared, some shook their heads in disbelief and disagreement. The dad saw all the staring eyes and dragged his kids away, in shame, anger or sadness.

I felt really sad afterwards for this man. He was judged very quickly – and maybe rightly so – obviously I don’t know the full circumstances. The point is, we DON’T know so we have no right to judge. Maybe this dad had given his kids a lovely day out and they had given him nothing but a hard time all day and he just snapped. He could have been he was ill. Maybe his partner had just left him or he was struggling at work. We just don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. So we have no right to judge.

Haven’t we all been there? Where we have said or done something to our kids that we regretted later on and thought, ‘wow that was not my finest hour!’? I know I have. But I did it for a reason; I was tired, stressed or pushed to the limits of my patience. I know that doesn’t make it right, but it does at least explain it.

And I get it. Sometimes in the moment we are just not a great parent. But we don’t need to be judged for that as long as we are aware of it. And willing to change and do better next time. Maybe even big enough to sit down with our kids and say, ‘You know what Sam, that was not ok what I did or said to you there. And I want you to know that I’m really sorry and will do all I can to not repeat that’. Admit your mistake to your kids. And apologise.

Here I will add the poem ‘Don’t judge me’…

Today,

I’m not smiling or friendly and I don’t

participate in conversation.

You think me rude.

Today,

I don’t do small talk and I

stand on my own on the playground.

You think me arrogant.

Today,

I don’t listen, distracted.

If I talk, I will cry and if I

listen to your kids’ stories

I will crumble.

Please,

don’t judge me, this morning I was

bad, I feel only guilt.

Yesterday,

my partner left me and my kids.

Please,

don’t judge me, I worry about my child’s

needs and behaviour.

I’m anxious

about how I will make it.

Please,

don’t judge me.

Just smile and accept where I am,

just give me a squeeze and tell me

it’s OK.

Please don’t judge me.

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