The broadcaster read the story with a smirk in his voice. A child was found unharmed after the car she was riding in was stolen. The story unfolded. In the twilight winter morning hours, a mother had left her car running while she went into an all-night convenience store. Her car was stolen, with the child inside.
The broadcaster didn’t hide his disgust.
“What mother,” he editorialized, “would leave her child in an unlocked running car at 2 in the morning?”
Obviously, this broadcaster has never been a single mother. I can think of any number of reasons that young mother would find herself in that situation.
Perhaps she worked the evening shift, had just picked up her child at the sitter’s and needed milk for a morning bottle.
Perhaps the child was sick, and, alone, the mother had to take the child with her to the drugstore for fever-reducing medicine.
Perhaps the woman was traveling late at night and stopped at the store for a cup of coffee to help her stay alert, choosing to leave the child in the warmth of the car instead of waking her in the frigid air.
Yes, I can understand what type of mother she was because I have been that type of mother. I’ve taken my children home asleep late at night after working, and I’ve found myself alone with a sick child and no medicine, and I’ve been the one sleepy and exhausted at night traveling a dark road.
I can understand this mother.
What I can’t understand is how someone else could so easily find fault in another’s life they knew nothing about.
Some people are so quick to judge. In court, judges must draw opinion merely on the “evidence at hand,” but in real life, sometimes the “evidence” isn’t so obvious. Sometimes, you have to get to know the person before the reasons for their actions become clear.
But getting to know someone takes time, and most people don’t take the time. It’s just easier to judge. Judging keeps us emotionally detached from caring about (and thus helping) others.
It is easier to say “she shouldn’t have” than to learn the circumstances which led to this young mother’s actions.
I suppose some folks judge my actions. Someone else judges theirs. But does it help either of us?
It is a kind soul who can look at another’s actions not with disgust and criticism, but with trust that they made the best choice they could at that single moment in their life.
I fear, though, we are in
short supply of kind souls.