A few weeks ago I was at work and I heard a scream.
It wasn’t a scream of terror or pain, it wasn’t an adult either.. it was a child.
I looked out the window, saw nothing… I figured maybe it was just echoing in my mind from the night before when my son didn’t want to goto bed and I heard him screaming and crying. (over-tired 4 year old problems, ya know..) I sat back down thinking I was just losing my marbles (or what is left of them at least..) and got back to work.
Two seconds later there is was again.. screaming.
I shot up, this time walked around my desk to the window and I saw him. A little boy, maybe 5 years old.. on the floor under the window outside my job.. and his mother, next to him with an all too familiar facial expression of exhaustion, anger and humiliation. She was frantically trying to calm him down.. dialing a phone, looking in her bag for something to bribe him with. He continued to wail, she noticed me and pulled him up to get away from the window. I smiled at her but she had already turned away trying to get her son to relax.
I watched by the window for a moment, she was trying to hold his hand and he was swatting her away.. running ahead and then stopping and sitting on the floor not wanting to move. I felt for her. I’ve been there. I think we have all been there.
You’re feeling like a bad mother. Like everyone is staring at you thinking you can’t control your kid. When in reality, if it’s someone like me, I get it. My heart goes out to you. That also isn’t always a great feeling.. pity. Like everyone is “sorry for you” You just wanna show everyone on the block a video of when your child was singing a song, or hugging you or sleeping, smiling.. anything something other then this angry ball of emotions on the floor in front of you that you really want to just grab by the neck and lose your cool on.
(No wonder some animals eat their young, ammiright?!)
Thats another issue.. you don’t wanna be that parent that is yelling and beating your kid in the middle of the street and get those people judging you.. But on the other hand you don’t want to be that parent that lets your child run wild and be the one who doesn’t do enough. Its a fine line.
Thats the first part of the problem with the world today.. we are all so concerned about being judged and caught on some live feed video being a “horrible parent” or that our crying toddler will become some meme that will spread across the internet. It’s sad that we can’t just be the parents we want to be and focus on ourselves and our children.. not what some random person in some town you’ve never heard of across the state has to say about your parenting.
We all say we don’t care what others think.. but we do. How can you not?
Which brings me back to the center of this story… I was a person who said I didn’t care.. I would always help someone else, I would always parent how I see fit etc. However that day I was tested. i passed that test.
As I saw the child continue to cry and scream.. I sprang into action. I remembered I had a little stress ball shaped like a house so I grabbed that and I got a glass of water and went to leave my office.
Then I froze for a moment.
What if the mother didn’t want help? What is she got mad at me for offering to help?
It happens, I have seen it. This is the real problem with the world. This is the main reason for this story.
We are actually hesitant to help one another, because of the reaction we may encounter from the other person.
People are more likely to pick up a phone and record a video to go “viral” then they are to jump in and help people.
After I stopped to think for a second, I shook those thoughts out of my head. I was raised better than that. I want to help when I can.. and if it was me, I hope someone would help me, too.
I walked out and the little cutie was sitting a couple doors down crying hysterically still. His mom now a look of defeat on her face.. I walked over and caught her eye, smiled and flashed the toy and motioned towards her son. She gave me a little nod so I crouched down to his level and I said hello..
He looked up, tear streaked and red in the face he was trying to catch his breath to say hi back..
“Hey buddy, I have a problem and I need a big boy to help me.. do you know any big boys?” I said..
he looked up “I..I’m a big..boy” he whimpered.
So I replied “Well, I have this house” and I opened my hand and the stress ball expanded to show a little white house, “I can’t take care of it because I have to work.. so I need a big boy who can take care of it for me, do you think you can do me that favor?”
Now he’s staring at it, the crying has stopped and we could tell I caught his interest.
“I can, yes” he said quietly reaching out for the house.
“Big boys don’t scream and hit their mommies right?” I asked.. looking up as his mom who was finally looking peaceful and at ease. “Right” he replied.
I handed him the toy and he smiled..
I asked the mom if he could have some water she said of course.. He chugged the entire glass and said thank you.
We high-fived and shared another smile..
As I stood up, Mom thanked me and I assured her I knew the feeling and I had a 4 year old myself… She told me it was passing a toy story a block earlier and not being able to go in was what set off the tantrum. I explained to her that I usually walk around the block to avoid that and we laughed..
As I went back to work, I turned back and saw them walking hand in hand down the block.
I like to think she at least got to have a nice walk home with her sweet son, with no more tears..
…because after all only big boys can watch that house! 🙂
I urge you to not think twice if you see someone in need of help.. Also, if someone offers you help, be kind to them.. accept or deny their offer a politely and thankfully as you can.. They may have struggled internally with wanting to reach out and help. Your reaction may change how they choose to react in the future. No matter how large or small of a gesture, anything can make a difference. In a time where it seems like everyday we have people killing others and not caring, we should work harder to care for one another in our own lives and in the lives of those surrounding us.. wether we know them or not.
“Be kind to everyone you meet, because you never know what battles people are fighting.”
my love to you always..