Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Snap Judgments?

Do you pass snap judgments against people?

I think everyone does at one point or another, but I make a concentrated effort to not do it.

Yesterday, that was not true.

My youngest and I were at the check-out last night, at about 7:00 p.m.  We had two cart fulls of groceries (we shop bi-weekly and need big bags of salt, so that's the norm).  It takes a little time to check out two carts.  For that whole entire time, there was a very small child running around at the front of the store.  The child was old enough to walk (run), but not old enough to talk (or even tell if he/she was a girl or boy).  You know the age.  The cute 'awwww' age.

The child was in pajamas and barefoot.

  • Snap judgment #1: Oh my gosh, who brings their child to the grocery store in pajamas and barefoot.
  • Snap judment #2: Oh my gosh, who lets their kid run around unattended like that???

The child went into the photo studio that was (closed) dark and was playing with things, ran around the front where the people were checking out, and then followed my son and I to the mechanical pony ride at the front of the store.  There was already a child on the pony so we decided to go to the Claw Machine instead.  My 5-yr old said, 'Mom, that baby's following us.'

I made a mental note to tell my son in the car all of the reasons why you don't let a child run around like that.

We got to the door, and it beeped.  That meant the person on duty had to check our receipt & find what caused the problem.  Sometimes that takes awhile.  Note the time frame the child was still running around.

The child then ran towards the exit doors that open automatically.  It's a big super store grocery store, with no sidewalk out front.  You immediately step into a very busy parking lot, the kid is two-ft. tall, and it's dark.

A young woman, early twenties, with a small child in tow screams out, "Somebody stop that baby!"

Everyone assumed ( I assumed anyway ) that it was her child, and that since she was running like that and had left her own small child unattended in the busy store to do so, that it was her child and she could easily get there faster than any of us could.
  • Snap judgment #3 Oh my gosh, why doesn't she watch her child better!
I'm still standing at the door having the cart searched for the offending object that needed debugged (it was hubby's Prilosec, by the way ;) ), and it becomes clear that the lady who ran out in the parking lot was NOT the child's mother, she was however, instantly a hero!  I told her that was a super good catch.  I don't think she heard me, she was too frantic over what had just happened.  She without a doubt saved that baby from huge potential harm.  

A). It was bitterly cold and the child was in pajamas, no socks or shoes, no coat...
B).  It was dark.
C).  The parking lot was RIGHT there and is ALWAYS very busy.

The list could go on an on.

And still nothing or no one came around looking for a lost child.  I imagined a mom scared and crying in the store, looking for her kid.

I hope that was the case.  Like we've discussed here before, something scary happens to us as parents at least once in life, sometimes more.

A million thoughts went through my head when I was loading the groceries. Thoughts such as, I wonder if that parent will ever know how close to danger her child came? I hope the parent finds the child quickly.  I hope a million good things happen to that lady who saved that child.  And so on and so forth.

Then I felt a profound sense of relief that the baby didn't get hurt or worse.  

And then the thoughts about my role came into play,
 "Oh my gosh, I didn't even sense that there was NO parent around." 
"Why didn't I do something?" 
"Why didn't I even look around to see where mom/dad were when the baby went into the empty photo studio (clue number 9 bazillion that something was off).

And lastly I thought, 
Oh my gosh, what a jerk I am to make so many snap judgments.  I know better.

I hope it was a happy ending.  It was definitely one of those moments that makes you reflect. And not just me.  Getting in the car for school today, I was putting little man in his car seat and he said, "Remember that baby who lost his mom?"  "Maybe moms should just leave their baby in the car when they go shopping."  And then I had to explain to him the reasons why you couldn't do that, lol.

All is well that ends well though, and the baby definitely ended up safe.

How about you, are you quick to make snap judgments against people, or do you keep that instinct in check?


Anonymous said...

I would have thought the same things as you like "Why is this child running loose in a store?" BUT I am very attentive and when it comes to children I pay close attention. Don't know why just always have. So after my initial SNAP judgements I probably would have mentioned to the cashier or something about the child if it seemed odd. We are human and at times are so occupied with our own lives we don't pay attention to things out of sorts. The best thing you got out of this is acknowledging that you can sometimes pass judgement as we all do and maybe that can help you to better look at situations for the future :-) Great post. Good day!

Beth Rowland said...

I'm guilty of snap judgement hands down.
It's not that I always think the worst of people but most the times they just prove me right and I hate that.

Even though I've never had any children, I'm always judging moms that put no coat, shoes , or at least socks on their child in the cold months. My great grandmother would always gasp if a baby didn't have booties or a cap on. Pretty sure that's where I got it from :)

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah I do it all the time, but after a while I take a step back and think of a reason why not. But still somethings are just common sense, which it seems many don't have haha

~ Noelle said...

I do SNAP judgements quite often... I hate it at times, but others... it makes me think more...
hope someone talks to that parent..

My Journey With Candida said...

I have to confess that I too make snap judgements. Not proud of it either. It is something I try not to do.... but it does happen.

The baby didn't seem to mind that it's Mom was lost.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I try to be very careful never to make snap judgements. We never know people's stories and we should never make such judgements. We wouldn't want them made about us :)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I have been guilty of makig some snap judgements...and unfortunately, sometimes, I have turned out to be accurate. Sure wish I wasn't accurate though! Seeing that unfold must have left you a little messed up, and no one could blame you, either.

alissa apel said...

I have sort of snap judgements. I'm a teacher. Often times I wait to judge after a few weeks.

Here are the things I judge, which I don't know if it's good or bad that I do:

•If they are on time to class. If they are consistently late that to me says they don't care too much about my class, or their parent's money.
•If they are loud and obnoxious in a rude way. Not a fun way. That's disrupting to those around them. i
•If they turn their work in on time/or if I ask for it will they still not turn it in?
•When they don't have money for school supplies, but do to go out to eat during class and take smoke breaks often.
•If they admit to their problems or use excuses for them. I'd prefer the first.

If they are all the above I can tell I'm going to have future trouble. Thankfully I don't get a student like that often. There is however one in every class. I had one once that tried telling me I lost their artwork a few times. My assistant would go over when no one was there. Their artwork would be in a stack of stuff right by their desk. Another said they were sick all the time and didn't have money. I'd hear her telling people she was going to this concert and that concert.

I do give judgement some time, but sadly I can tell soon enough if someone is trouble.

Kristi Maloney said...

I would have made that same judgement based on the appearance of the child running around. No shoes and only pjs? That young and no supervision?

Here's another scenario. Say the mom was there and she had one of those harnesses on the kid. I hate to admit it, but I would have made another judgement call seeing that....My youngest was always running off and there I was running after him. I actually bought one of those harnesses, but never used it. I suppose if I did, I would have judged myself! lol

A thoughtful post.

Azara said...

How scary. I read a post recently by a mom who lost her 2-year old (he slipped out the door of the doctor's office while she was registering her 2 older kids). As she was running down the busy street screaming his name, a woman said, "Oh, are you looking for a little boy? He went that way."

I didn't judge the mom at all, because I know how easily that kind of thing can happen. I did judge the woman on the street who saw an unattended toddler (2 years old!!) and didn't take care of him until his mother could be found. I can't believe someone would see a baby wandering alone beside a busy street and just go on their merry way.

Theresa said...

I admit, I am guilty of snap judgments. Growing up around the family I have, it is very easy for me to see others in a negative light instead of a positive one. It's something that I struggle to work on every day. I don't want my children to see others in a jaded light like I tend to.

I am glad that the baby was safe that night, but I still worry about the neglect the child will face in the future. If Michigan is as cold as it is here in Indiana right now, I would feel so angry at a small child running around with no shoes on this time of year!

Our Neck of the Woods said...

Oh gosh, that's crazy! I'm glad the baby was safe. I have to say, I am guilty of snap judgments, but I always keep them in my head. I really need to work on that!

Judy Haughton-James said...

This was indeed a frightening situation. That is how some children get kidnapped. I am glad everything ended well. I try not to make snap judgements but it is not always easy!:) Enjoy the rest of your day.

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

I hope that baby is safe. As someone who is always on the receiving end of snap judgments you'd thinks I'd be better about not making them. But I am guilty too. The key is to recognize when you do it like you did. I stop and tell myself to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Colette S said...

I would have been thinking as you do too, but I get so upset seeing kids unattended because of the terrible dangers of being kidnapped all etc that I would have asked a cashier to see about the child.

This is shocking to witness in this day and age in a big store. Why? All I want to know is why?

Are they deliberately wanting their child to be lost? (Maybe a snap judgement, but it is upsetting).

Then I was wondering if you were a program of what would you do :)

Do you ever see that show?

I hope all is well at the end.
We rarely see the end huh?

That was a perfect opportunity to have a safety discussion with your son. I use those moments too. They are perfect since your child witnessed them and needed to have a dialog of sorts.

P.s where do you get your cute photos?
Do you make them?

mail4rosey said...

Being attentive when it comes to children is a good quality. Thanks for the visit.

mail4rosey said...

I'm like that w/a hat if it's cold out... probably because my mom and gram used to be such sticklers about one.

mail4rosey said...

ha, I said on your blog that you and my hubby would likely get along, and I have to reiterate that again after reading this, lol. He says that same thing quite often. ;)

mail4rosey said...

I hope so too, Noelle. The baby was given to customer service, so she might never even know what happened.

mail4rosey said...

Nope, the baby was laughing, running, and very happy to have free reign of the store.

mail4rosey said...

I HATE when someone makes a snap judgment about me, especially if they're wrong, so I agree w/you 100%

mail4rosey said...

I was very grateful it was a happy ending (as far as the baby being safe goes).

mail4rosey said...

I have taught too, and you're right, there is always one student in the class who makes things eventful. ;)

mail4rosey said...

Those harnesses are so up for debate. :) I've never had one but they don't bug me. You know what bothers me, and I'm probably thinking of it because of what my son said this morning, but kids in the car while the parents run in the store. I know odds are high nothing is going to happen, but what if it did?

mail4rosey said...

Eesh, yeah, if I saw a toddler roaming alone on the street I would like to think there would be no hesitation in going to him/her until mom or dad showed up.

mail4rosey said...

I did think of the baby's future and hope it wasn't how it appeared it could be.

And yep, Michigan is pretty darn cold right now (warm your car up a good ten minutes to get the ice off of it cold).

mail4rosey said...

I keep them in my head too, and when I notice I'm doing it I get totally irked w/myself.

mail4rosey said...

I thought of that too...anyone could have just taken that baby.

mail4rosey said...

I do the same thing (tell myself to give people the benefit of the doubt). It's annoying when we try to not do something we hate and still do it anyway, I totally agree.

mail4rosey said...

I haven't seen the show, my TV knowledge is terrible!

I was pretty mad at myself for being so clueless, Colette. I'm not usually so far with my head in the sand, especially when it comes to kids. Thank goodness for that lady who was there and noticed, and did something!

I get the pictures from ClipArt on Word.

Pride In Photos said...

When I was younger, I would jump to conclusions frequently...but with age you realize not to judge if you haven't walked in their shoes.

mail4rosey said...

Excellent view point, Laurie. That's exactly where I'm trying to be (and stay). I thought I was doing good until I judged that gal who ended up being the most alert one in the whole place!

Raising Reagan said...

Ugh ... I think we all jump to snap conclusions too quickly sometimes.
It is a difficult task to do because I am a rather crass person and my face gives me away WAY too much so I try my hardest to be sympathetic and lend a hand when needed.
I think know that I am a mother I don't jump to the same conclusions I did when I wasn't a mother. You mature so much when you become responsible for someone else.


Judy SheldonWalker said...

I worked several years in retail management and have seen very similar scenes. I've seen mothers walk out the door deliberately leaving a toddler behind and seen toddlers come into the store barefoot, filthy and in their underwear totally unattended. Trying to round up the child and call the authorities can be tricky as restraining someone's child till you can get the police to come is not easy and can backfire. I've done it and was told that the parents could have filed charges on me for touching their child and accused me of all kinds of craziness. A small girl would run out of the home while her elderly disabled grandmother slept. Her mother was not in the picture. There is so much we do not know when we witness a scene!!Thank God her child was not snatched as she took care of the other; heart wrenching!!

myshelomitashop said...

I hate when people snap judge me especially when they say it out loud. Although I realized it is sometimes inevitable. I also do that whenever I see children roam around at a busy mall or a busy road by themselves. Can't stop wondering where their parent are and whether they know what their kids doing. I think it's a mother instinct because when I was single no kids I can't recall I have these thoughts in my mind whenever I saw the same situation : D

Masshole Mommy said...

I get so mad at myself when I make snap judgements like that, but in the situation that you were in, honestly, I would have made many of the same ones that you did. I hate when people judge me and my parenting, but some things are just wrong. I mean, I get it -I have 2 energetic little boys and they don't always behave perfectly, but I always watch them and if they do get THAT out of control - we leave the store.

Mel@Mellywood's Mansion said...

I think it's human nature, but sometimes things happen and people do things they wouldn't normally.lucky baby

mail4rosey said...

I grew up very young for just that reason. :)

mail4rosey said...

Oh my gosh, that thought crossed my mind too...about trying to contain that busy, happy baby that wanted to run without the mom/dad crying fowl when she/he finally got back to the baby.

It's a shame things are taken out of perspective, especially in instance like you've described above. And seeing a mom leave a toddler deliberately?!?!? Crazy!

mail4rosey said...

I tried to think back to when I wasn't a mom, if I noticed...but it's been so long now I can't even remember. I bet you're right though!

mail4rosey said...

My husband's aunt has five grandchildren, all boys, that she takes out for fun. Those boys are crazy good, hats off to each of them! But the aunt said EVERY time she takes them out someone says something like, 'you must have your hands FULL.' To me, it's an innocent remark, but to her, it drives her crazy...and she's not one to not say something, lol.

mail4rosey said...

Very lucky baby. Lots of lucky people, actually, and none of them will probably ever know it.

Brandy said...

When I see a kid/baby with bare feet in middle of winter or even just socks on in middle of winter, I tend to get the "WTH" type judgement, because it's not really smart, the kid will get sick and such but when my other mom friends at the school start to make snide, rude comments about it, I simply shrug my shoulders and Say well to each their own I guess...

I have found that at times I can judge a situation by the cover, but I usually remind myself that I do not know the whole story. Having a bipolar son who can go into crazy aggressive mood rages, I tend to be on the end of others judging me or giving me looks and when I explain he is bipolar they just do not get the intensity of being bipolar - it's a chemical imbalance in the brain and with him being a growing boy on meds that are based on weight - the dosage for his meds are a constant battle to "get right"

mail4rosey said...

I am very good about not judging the behavior of children, it's the adults I struggle with from time to time. But I know I'm not perfect, not by a long shot, and I'm good at reminding myself of that too. ;)