We live in Minnesota. The ability to skate is almost a requirement to live here.
Neither my husband or I are from here. Neither of us grew-up playing hockey. Both of us became interested in it during college, with him introducing me to it. It’s the only sport I’m actually interested in watching.
For a number of reasons, but mostly due to our son’s personality and interests, we started him in a hockey league. We are just happy he stays out on the ice and is getting more confident and comfortable (you should see some of those kids!!!!).
The fact that our 4-year-old son is playing hockey occasionally comes up in conversation. Mostly the response is encouraging and questions follow. Sometimes I get a concerned look, shake of the head, and “too young” comment. Most of the time I give a quick response and move on, other times I go into a longer explanation.
In the end, this all gets filed in the “I don’t care what others think” category. Hockey – yes, at age 4 – is perfect for our son and our family. Our younger daughter even loves cheering for Daddy and brother (Daddy is a volunteer coach which required training).
Doubt, criticism, and critique from the outside is a hazard of parenting.
The first real instance of a total stranger telling me I was a bad mom was outside a local grocery store. I was carrying my son into the store on a warm Fall day. He was about 6 months old and not walking yet, so I only had a pair of warm socks on his feet. We hadn’t gotten him shoes yet as he didn’t need them, I had read somewhere that shoes would only hamper the development of his tiny feet, and seriously – why buy shoes for a 6 month old when socks are perfectly fine? So, here is this older man who knows nothing about me, calling me out that I was a bad mom because my kid didn’t have shoes??? Okay, I get that he may have some personal baggage, but seriously, what was his issue?
Single Dad Laughing recently had a great post and following discussion regarding critical and – sorry – naive comments. We all, especially parents, go through a lot. We have these little beings that God gifted us with. We do our best with our circumstances. We have to learn as we go, and yes, we do need outside advice at times. But, please – if you aren’t asked, if you are a complete stranger walking down the street (or even someone better known) – and you don’t know what happens 24-7 with the child, don’t know the kids preferences for every tiny little thing, and can’t anticipate their next move – how do you think your comment, especially if in a critical tone, will help?
Life is chaotic, confusing, transient, and all around crazy as it is. Do we actually need to add unnecessary negativity to the world? Isn’t there a Bible verse about that? Or, how about hundreds of verses???
Sure, there is a time and place to provide helpful, loving comments (even drastic intervention) – but when we don’t know anything about the story, even if we know “a lot about kids”, we don’t know it all. Plenty of times I will think about what I would have done in a certain situation, but that is just a guess. If I was really in that position – if I was that person – I would be doing exactly as they are.
Perhaps if we all honored others a bit more, trusted others to handle things appropriately for themselves, we would ask questions rather than dictate as if they were clones of ourselves.
Lord, help me remember that I am not them and they are not me. Help me remember that in their particular lives, their needs and stories may lead them to step into places they don’t belong – and help me know when I do the same. Lord, you call us to live humbly. Help us along that path by helping us give others more credit, as we don’t know everything. Amen.