Never judge someone without knowing the whole story. You may think you understand, but you don’t.Unknown
We are extremely sensitive when it comes to our dreams, our desires, our feelings, our kids, our families, our jobs, or anything that is close to our hearts. But have we ever tasted our insensitivities when it is about others? Mostly not.
We usually don’t shy from making judgments and will hold an opinion about everything under the sun, no matter how little we understand it.
We will have an opinion basis choices, dressing sense, or lifestyle. But it’s worse when we judge basis intellect, color, height, looks, caste, or everything else, that one has no control over.
It’s not an overnight change that happens the moment we turn 18, old enough to have an opinion about who should run the country; instead, it starts from the day we are born. We see it around us all the time. Sometimes we observe our parents making insensitive comments about that distant relative’s weight, or on other occasions, we find ourselves on the receiving end because of our ‘not so good’ grades.
Judging others is our favorite hobby.
We want to categorize and compartmentalize everything that we see. It has to fit with our preconceived notions, and if it doesn’t, then something is wrong about it!
I have experienced this multiple times – thanks to my “not so fair” complexion but never allowed it to hamper my self-esteem. But how do you manage when it is about your child?
Let me share an incident that happened in 2018 – my son was less than five years old. I had taken him to the play area within our society. He had already spent more than 2 hours on the swing and the slide, and I wanted to go back home, but he wasn’t keen. I tried to explain, but back then, his communication and understanding were not good enough to comprehend my statements.
When everything else failed, I pretended to leave and said, “you carry on, Mumma is going home”. Varenya can never accept my ignorance, so he immediately understood but started protesting and shouting. I gave no reaction to such behavior, so he targeted a woman who was sitting on a bench in that play area. She must have been in her mid-20s; Varenya slapped her on her shoulder. She glared at him, so did the four guys who she was chatting with. Varenya was hardly bothered about their body language and stamped his hand on her shoulder one more time.
By now, it had become “unbearable” for the entire group. They all circled Varenya and started lecturing him in a high decibel pitch coupled with a dramatic body language.
“Have you lost your mind? Don’t you have any manners? Is this how you are supposed to behave? And so on…
In most cases, I don’t intervene when my son acts up. I want him to learn the hard way so that he understands that it was not acceptable, but I could not have left him alone that day. I had to intervene and went close to where the schooling was happening. One of them noticed me and shot the same set of questions at me as well – Have you not taught him basic manners? Is he mad? Does he not get things?
Yes, he does not get things like the way most of us do. Yes, he is different. I picked up my son in my arms and left from there. He was scared while I had tears in my eyes…
If we can’t see and empathize with others’ challenges, then are we really “normal”?
PS – after a few days, one of them bumped into me inside the lift. Fortunately, he had the courtesy and guts to apologize in front of another three people. He said, I did not know about your son; he looks perfectly normal! Had I known his challenges, I won’t have reacted that way.
Was that a good enough justification? I am glad that he at least realized his mistake, but why did it happen in the first place?
Do checkout my book, When I Met The “Unexpected” – A Guide for All Parents, to learn more about Autism. Let’s work towards making this world a truly inclusive place for everyone 🙂
Take care, see you soon.