Tuesday, May 31, 2016

SHUT UP !

     I have two children. Both are teenagers now but they are only 14 months apart so there was a time when I had two very small children to look after AT THE SAME TIME. Only one of my children has had to have stitches. When Ben was a toddler, he ran everywhere instead of walking. One morning I was sitting on my bed as he came hurling himself into my bedroom with a blanket over his head. The next 3 seconds are a blur.He trips over the bottom edge of the blanket, falls, and hits his chin on the bed rail. I was within arms length of him when he fell. I reached for him but it was too late.It all just happened so fast.
     Both Ben and Cara have had strep throat and I waited it out to see if it was viral because fever seemed to be the only symptom. Both were eating and drinking normally. Both were playing and behaving normally. Both had strep and I didn't catch it until DAYS later.
     Life doesn't come to a grinding halt just because you have two small children. Meals still need to be prepared. Laundry still has to be washed, dried, folded, and put up. Bills still have to be paid. Shopping still has to be done. I do not know exactly how many times I took my children to Walmart with me. It must have been bunches because I still to this day have horrible flashbacks. I remember many times when I would stop to get something off of the shelf or be looking at an article of clothing on a rack and 3 or 4 seconds later, I would be chasing one or both down a grocery aisle or rummaging under clothing racks to fish out a child or two.
     Several days ago, a 4 year old child fell into a gorilla exhibit at a Cincinnati zoo. Ultimately, the gorilla was shot and killed and the boy is safe and doing fine. All of the sudden there are hundreds of thousands of perfect parents and wild gorilla experts coming out of the woodwork, spouting opinions based on feeling , not facts.
    The mom has been judged by perfect parents everywhere as being negligent. Do you personally know her? Do you spend time with her and her children and observe her being negligent on a regular basis? No ? SHUT UP ! Were you there to witness the events as they took place? No? SHUT UP? Have you never lost sight of your child for even a second ? No? LIAR AND SHUT UP! You can say a million times that YOUR child would never had been the one to fall into the exhibit. You can say that YOU are a better parent. YOU are judgemental and ignorant to the world around you. Parenting small children is no joke and if you have never witnessed your child almost come face to face with disaster while you stand there helpless to stop it, it has nothing to do with your parenting skills. You better hit your knees in gratitude because you have been blessed.
     The zoo officials have been judged by hundreds of thousands of people who apparently identify as wild gorilla experts. How many years have you spent with gorillas in the wild to observe their behavior? Zero? For real? SHUT UP ! How many years have you worked at the zoo? Zero? SHUT UP ! How much experience do you have shooting 450 pound gorillas  with tranquilizer darts? None? SHUT UP!
     This country is suffering from an epidemic of judgement and condemnation based on how they feel and one or two facts. Too many have an opinion and are quick to shout it out without waiting for confirmation or research. Too many assume incorrectly that their opinion trumps fact. STOP IT !  Stop  being so self absorbed, self righteous, and stupid. SHUT UP !
     I know it may be too much to ask , but, how about we extend the mother and the zoo in question a little mercy and grace? How about we as a society recognize that NONE of us are perfect and we ALL make mistakes. Fortunately for us all, not many mistakes end in death, but sometimes they do.How about we give the benefit of doubt? How about we stop judging people for making split second decisions that do not line up with what we THINK we would do? Fact : YOU weren't there. Fact : You did not witness the event. Fact: You aren't a perfect parent either. Fact: You aren't an expert on wild gorilla behavior. Fact : You should SHUT UP !


Disclaimer : I made some pretty harsh snap judgements when I first read this story. I pretty quickly realized that since I was not there and didn't have many facts, I had no right to do so. When I say we as a society, I am preaching to myself as well. This was also a reminder to MYSELF to shut up the next time I make judgements because I do not have the right. It was a reminder to MYSELF to NOT be self absorbed, self righteous , and stupid. It was a reminder to MYSELF to always give the benefit of the doubt and to offer mercy and grace instead.

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