Last night was Elly's Ballet parent's viewing night. Oh she was so cute. I sat there with this big stupid grin on my face, and blinded by tears. They galloped around the room, and every time she would pass us she would give us a little wave. She was adorable. As I sat there watching her, my attention began to fall off of my precious little angel and fall onto the not so precious angels in her class. There was perhaps one of the ugliest little girls I have ever seen. She looked like baby Gerald (you know Maggie Simpson's arch enemy), but with a pony tale. I was drawn in by how homely this poor little kid was, homely and badly behaved. My attention was then caught by this beautiful little girl with gorgeous blonde curls cascading down her back. The teacher would pick a leader and then this angelic looking little creature would jump in the front of the line, stealing leadership. In my head I'm shouting "Don't let her do that!", "That's not fair!", " Does no one else see this!" When the teacher asked the little ballerinas questions, this little girl would shout her answer out over top of the other children, you know the kid's who had the turn. I looked over to see that little girl's mother just glowing looking at her. "Oh if that was my kid I would not be glowing", I glowered in head. It's good that no one can read my thoughts, because I am pretty sure that people would fight for the right to bring back the lost art of stoning people.
So I am sitting there in a this smallish room surrounded by loving faces. Everyone there is adoring, watching their baby. I am adoring my baby, but laying judgement on a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds. You know that moment when you are struck with shame.... well that was it. I sat there thinking, full of shame. I value manners, I drill manners into my children. I value a sense of fairness, I drill that into my children. I value kindness above all, and yet, here I am sitting thinking that this little 3 or 4 year old girl looks like Baby Gerald (she really did, but that's unkind). Because I place high value on manners, fairness, kindness, doesn't mean that every parent does, and that certainly does not give me permission to judge those children because they have been taught to value other character traits. I then thought back to last week, the afternoon before Halloween. One of my friends (Trish Lord) had posted a little blurb, and it really came into my head last night. I needed to be reminded.
In other words, think before you judge. That mother may be looking over at her child and glowing, because she is just happy that her child is alive. That ugly kid has a life time to of self esteem issues to deal with without having this witch (that's me) judge her. Maybe there is a genetic reason that the child looks like that, and that genetic component is also the reason she is misbehaving. Or maybe the reason is just that they are 3 and 4 year olds and not everyone is perfect.... most especially me.
I am a work in progress. I need to not only act in a kind way, but to think in a kind way. For me that is really difficult. I am by nature a kind and giving person, but I am also by nature ubber critical, and judgmental. I know that these are terrible personality flaws. I need to work harder. I need to practice what I preach. I need to practice thinking kinder thoughts.