Thursday, January 05, 2006

What would you do?

I had to take a quick run to the grocery store for a few things before lunch. The store was crowded, the lines were long. I got my few things and got in line.

Then it happened. A little boy who looked to be about 4 or 5, tipped back his head and started whaling at the top of his lungs. The mother immediately, (immediately!!) began to scream at him, "Shut up! Shut up! What is wrong with you?" It quickly escalated into louder, whooping screams and more frantic, angry words from the mother. I don't have the heart to repeat what she said here.

I stood there in line with my things and felt my heart pounding and my blood pressure rising. I wanted to do something--anything. But I didn't. I didn't know what to do. I felt so helpless. Looking around at the other faces waiting in line, I saw some of the same emotions.

My hands were shaking when I got to my car. I felt like crying, I think I did. I can't shake it. I wish I had done something--anything. The only thing I can think to do now is to pray for that harried, angry mother and her son. And try to have a plan should this ever happen again.


Blogger Donna Boucher said...

I would have spoken to the child (say I was in line right next to him) In a friendly way...I might have said "Are you hurt?" "Did you bite your tongue?"

Poor guy.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Kim from Hiraeth said...

Thanks, Donna. That's a good idea. I was in a different line--several lines away and far at the back, so I didn't have that kind of access, but that is a really good way of possibly diffusing the situation. It doesn't accuse the mother, it brings attention to the child and his needs, while letting the mother know that other people care (and notice!)

I have thought that maybe I should have left my cart and made my way toward them and simply asked the mother, "How can I help you?"

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Allyson said...

You can pray right then and there for the mother and the child. There may be circumstances that you don't know about and aren't readily apparent. I've been in this type of situation before, and I understand the sense of awkward helplessness. I always worry about intervening, because I never would want to make it worse for the child--if the mother were embarassed, she might take it out on him later. However, if the Holy Spirit is telling you to do something, then do it.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Kim from Hiraeth said...

Thanks for your feedback, Allyson. I did pray--"Oh, God, please help them, please help her see what she is doing to her child! Please keep him safe!"

We used to "play act" with our kids--what will you say if a friend asks you to smoke, drink, lie. What if you come home from school and I'm not home? What will you do? What if you're home alone and the dog runs away? What if, what if, what if. We practiced so many scenarios so that they would be ready to respond and know what to do.

I wish I had been more prepared. I've thought about this off and on all day and I have been praying that God would give me wisdom and courage should this kind of situation ever present itself again and that I would be ready to respond.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Doug E. said...

I hate those situations! I never quite know what to do myself, and unfortunately don't anything many times.

May God Give us grace to know what to do next time.


8:20 PM  

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