Sunday, May 17, 2009

One Kind Word

Have you heard of the new project called "One Kind Word"?  I heard about it a while ago on the news and was not sure what I thought of it.  Basically it's a project that gives people tools to help children you see in public that are struggling with their parents.  "One Kind Word is designed to give people (particularly, retail employees) the words and actions to offer support to parents and children who are having a tough time and to help defuse parent-child conflicts."  (from website)
I particularly have been in public situations, at the store, park, gas station, church... where my kids have thrown a tantrum or made a scene.  It's can be embarrassing and I'm not sure if I would want a stranger offering support while my child is on the ground screaming.  I guess probably because I would be at a loss of a comforting word to offer a stranger if they were going through the same thing. On the other hand a kind word is much better then the "looks" I have received before, advise given, or even worse--someone offering my child candy (while they are throwing the tantrum).
Just this week, I have had more then one experience where I had another parent offer me their concern for my child's well being.  I should thank them lavishly and move on, but I find myself feeling judged and hurt.  I know my child and their capabilities and I wouldn't knowingly put them in danger.  
I have to tell this story, that happened about a month ago, I was attending church in another ward.  When I went to Relief Society which was the last meeting of church, my baby was tired.  Because it wasn't my ward I wasn't prepared with my usually toys and snacks I bring to occupy her for the full 3 hours.  During the meeting I looked in my bag for anything that might catch her interest and saw a diaper rash bottle.  I knew she couldn't open it and she immediately was intrigued. One lady behind me literally took the ointment from my baby and handed it to me and said, "Did you know that this is poison, please don't give it to her."  I was amazed and stunned that someone would do this.  I just smiled and nodded my head. After the meeting she came up to me and said that she was a nurse and just couldn't believe I would give that to my baby.  My sister in law was also their and we were just flabbergasted that someone could be so rude.  
Some have come out and bluntly (like the above example) tell you their disgust and others are a little more subtle --but both can be hurtful.  After I felt hurt this week I reflected within and thought I have probably done the same thing and hurt someone unknowingly.  So here I am committing to not judge others for the way they are parenting.  I think unless someone asks for advise, it's probably not wanted or needed.  
I believe we are all learning and doing our very best.  We also know how important our role is as mothers and fathers.  I know I do things different with my fourth child then I did with my first because they come different but also because I'm learning to do better.  That's all we can do is try to do better, educate ourselves and do the best with what we have and know now.  For me I'm going try to be more understanding and loving towards other parents learning and doing their best.  


  1. I still think about that lady in Relief Society sometimes and get irritated. She really was incredibly rude and accusatory, acting like you were a terrible mother and calling you out loudly in the middle of the lesson. The whole room turned to look.

  2. This is a tough one. I hate looking back at a situation and thinking that I should have said or done something. We all know those parents that don't really watch their children as well as they should and yet they have no idea, they think their kids are fantastic and they take offense if told otherwise. I'll usually say something if it is a safety issue, like kids playing in the road, parents beating a child in a store, etc.
    I think my kids are pretty good most of the time, but then again so do other moms, too. I just figure that I disagree with how others parent, but they may feel the same way about how I choose to parent my kids.

  3. Shanell-Thank you for this insight. I do think you are right this is a tough one. But I agree if there is a safety issue-I would for sure speak up. There are some parents going through some rough times and maybe they are so distracted by other things. I myself have been grateful for helpful parents who help me find my missing toddler in a store or park. And hopefully a parent would not take offense when you are seriously looking out for the well being of their child.

  4. Bonnie-I'm so glad I had you as a witness so I know I wasn't over-reacting!


I appreciate your comments!