When I taught first grade we had two rules in our classroom: Do the Right Thing, and Always Be Kind. We never had an issue come up that couldn’t be addressed by one of them. Pretty simple really. I wish I could say I live by them in my day to day life. I try, but many times I fall short. Today I am thankful for someone else’s kindness. It was just a few words, but it made all the difference in the world to me.
Today was James’ final music class of this semester. The last few classes we’ve gone to have been a little difficult. He loves the music when we listen at home, and he’s trying to sing along to some songs, but in class he’s very clingy, cries if I don’t hold him, and doesn’t participate until the end. Although class isn’t as much fun when he’s like that, I can handle it. More snuggles are always welcome. Today he showed off a new side of James. A side we’ve been seeing at home for a bit. The stomping, screaming, fall on the floor and kick his feet side of James. Is he just being two, or learning some “tricks” at daycare? Not sure, but I hope my sweet boy returns soon. These are the kind of behaviors that earn you those special looks from strangers at the grocery store, and, it turns out, from some parents at music class. And they’re the kind of looks that cut right through me. I may be a little more sensitive than some, but no mom is unaffected when her child is having a tantrum and someone stands in judgement of her.
When class was over I sat with James and put his shoes back on. I was feeling down, wishing we had stayed home snuggled up on the couch watching Curious George. I wanted to defend him. I wanted to tell everyone what a sweet boy he is most of the time, how good he is…everything he’s been through just to get to this point. (His NICU doctors would be so impressed that he has tantrums!) I thought about the times I felt judged our first semester – James bear-walked and licked the floors during class, believe me, I got some looks then, too. While I was gathering our things one of the moms smiled at me and said, “I know how you feel, mine does the same thing.” They were just a few simple words, but they were said with kindness and compassion and they completely changed how I felt. I left class with a smile today. I hope the next time I see a mom struggling at the store or the park I will offer a little kindness to her, even if its just a smile. No matter what we’re going through, whether its something big or just a little tantrum, knowing someone else has been there and we aren’t alone can make a world of difference.