Unless you’ve been too busy to turn on the news, I’m sure you’ve seen the recent articles on the mom who, in a moment of disappointment, tossed her children’s ice cream cones in the trash. Seems they forgot to say thank you (I suspect this wasn’t the first time) and mom wanted to teach them a lesson.
Since this story aired, a few other “like-minded” stories have also posted and have been hit with an insane amount of criticism, especially on social media. It seems that the rise of social media has given people permission to throw out opinions about other people’s lives based upon a 100 word article or 30 second segment. It seems we as parents have now become experts at raising other people’s children and determining what is best for them. Even better, is that we have are now identified ourselves as social driven journalists who must share our wisdom far and wide. The result is this: lots of half-truths, misunderstandings and ultimately families devastated by the personal attacks.
I’ve spent time reflecting on all of this and can’t help but wonder….
- What if rather than criticize, we stepped in and helped. What if rather than rolling our eyes and condemning a mom (be honest we’ve all done it) at the store when her child goes into full-blown meltdown, we stepped in and distracted the child by a smile or goofy face (note – I did this last night at the mall and the child totally perked up at my daughter playing peek-a-boo with her).
- What if the next time we hear the rumor about a lady in our community who threw the ice cream in the trash, we responded by saying I’m sure there is more to the story and she had a reason, would the rumor mill be shut down quicker?
- What if the next time we heard the story (and we knew the mom) we dropped them a note of encouragement, bought them a cup of coffee and showed support for them as a mom and human being, how would our perspective (and theirs) change?
Parenting is hard. It doesn’t come with a handbook and on most days you just hope your mistakes don’t land your child in counseling. It’s time we start encouraging and supporting one another – I know we’ve all had days where we could use it.