SHOCK & NEAR FURY - The mother just stood there, as she strangely looked at the 11 year old boy, while he screamed at her, yelled at her, pulled on her, pushed her in the chest, then slapped her in the face. She didn't grab him up by his arm and drag him to the car or smack him back, which is what I might have done to a decent sized 11 year old child who slapped me in the face. She, instead, picked him up in a bear hug, while he flailed, screamed, kicked and hit her in the head, literally. This parking lot brawl, though one sided, looked like a Jr. MMA battle. I was in Shock and Nearly in Fury on behalf of this mother, who clearly was out-manned.
I was seconds away from marching over there and saying to that little boy....with my deep manly, fatherly, I'm about to mess you up with this belt, voice.....
* Boy - (finger pointing right in his face, eyes fixed on his eyes, till he breaks and cries) What is wrong with you, why are you being so stupid, mean and disrespectful. If you were mine I would tar your behind, now, apologize to your mother and get your rear end in that car without making one word.
* Boy - (still pointing, but now, bent low as to get right in the little boys' face, eyes fixed from 3 inches away as to make him tremble till he wet his paints) - You are being retarded and wrong. You are a mean little boy who deserves to have your butt beat. If you don't march into that store, follow your mom without a single sound, I will take my belt off and beat you myself.
And, then there are 10 other approaches I imagines me taking with this bad little boy.
I did nothing, however. I just fumed from afar, murmuring really terrible things about this child. I actually despise children who are abusive, disobedient, disrespectful and mean. I guess I don't personally despise them, because I don't know them, I just cannot stand to see a generation of "bad kids" in action. I am old school and would have busted a move up on their behind......something I have not had to do with my own kids in a very long time....(I mean, give them time-out, and take their iPad away -- LAME)
APOLOGY - This is where I repent. After all these years, where I can still vividly remember my abhorrence of this child and his behavior, and my complete disappointment with the mother's reaction. I remember thinking she is a EPIC FAILURE and that the child is a complete DORK of a kid. I literally said things that spread curse and negativity. And, I'm sure every other adult in that parking lot did the same. I mean, don't we all make comments and jeer at "that" child in the Wal Mart checkout?? Of course we do. But, Guess What......I WAS WRONG.
I am now pretty sure this was a child "on the spectrum", a child with severe Autism, and a mother who was at her wits end, but still willing to attempt a trip to the store. After all, like I heard this week from a mother of a child with Autism, sometimes you just get hungry and have to go to the store.
I am now pretty sure this family could have used help, rather than jeers, comments and curses.
I am now pretty sure my intimidations tactics, in an attempt to help the beaten mother, would have ended very, very badly for us all.
I am now pretty sure my understanding, even still, is elementary and completely out of touch with the actual situation going on in the parking lot that day.
I am now pretty sure, also, that I hate the man I was that day. I just do.
SO, TO EVERY FAMILY WHO IS BRAVE IN THE JOURNEY WITH AUTISM IN THEIR HOME AND CHILDREN -- I AM SORRY. I WAS A JERK. PLEASE FORGIVE ME!!!!
As I repent before God and my Autistic Families, I am on a journey to learn. To truly repent, I must turn in the opposite direction, from ignorance to information and engagement. Below is a link to Focus on the Family's website, where you can find a great broadcast, two of them actually, and some books to help you in your learning journey.