Here's my sermon for the day :)
I was at the grocery store on Tuesday with just Asher-- all the other kids being in school. It was the first time we'd been grocery shopping alone together, and I was really enjoying it. Asher was in a good mood, so I was too. We were nearing the end of our trip when we rounded a corner to the last aisle and heard yelling and screaming. You know the type; you can hear it in nearly any grocery store. Mom is arguing with her 8 year-old about why he can't have a specific product, and 3 year-old is sitting in the cart crying at the top of his lungs, no doubt because Mom put him in the cart for running away or some other naughtiness. As I passed this family I tried to do so quickly and quietly, not wanting to add more mayhem to what they already needed to work through. As I looked down at the opposite end of the aisle I saw a couple in about their mid-60's. The wife was giving the child in the cart a nasty look (which his mom didn't see) and mouthing for him to be quiet. Her behavior seemed a little strange to me, but I just kept on shopping. When I reached the couple the lady put on the sweetest face and said kindly "Thank you so much for having a well behaved child."
I know this was meant as a compliment, and that she was probably saying it because she was just grateful there was only one screaming toddler instead of two, but her comment (combined with her nasty face I saw previously) made me feel uncomfortable. I really felt I needed to defend the mom and her boys. I am not usually quick on my toes and don't come up with good replies in situations such as this, but I felt compelled to contradict her. "You just caught us on a good day. This one has his horrible moments too." I assured her. "Oh, I doubt that." She said, smiling at Asher "He's so precious."
As I continued on I came to the conclusion that this lady must not have ever been blessed to raise children, because if she had, she would know that every child screams and throws tantrums from time to time. Sometimes mom has kept them out shopping too long. Sometimes the kid is hungry or tired. Sometimes big brother has been throwing things at them for the last 1/2 hr. Whatever. It happens. In the past, when my kids have acted up in public (especially here in Utah where there are a lot of kids), I have always felt inside me that, while it may bother the people around me, at least they understand it is a normal part of life and won't judge me too harshly. This experience has put a little dent in that assumption. I fear that all I can do about it is more firmly resolve to not judge others for things I merely see and know nothing about. Love, guys. Its all about love.