...Are not always 'spot on.'
I have been going to the gym since the temperatures have dropped some and my beloved daylight slips off much too early in the evening. I thought some indoor running might compensate for this lack of energy to really go 'out' to run and here lately I've been taking DQ with me.
There are classes for the kids and the other night, after I finished my run - I stopped in to get DQ from the tumbling class she choose to attend. While in there I noticed a little girl, 7ish who was not so little. She was actually a rather 'large' little girl who was trying to do cartwheels and flips and stuff the other girls were doing. She, however, was having trouble getting her legs high enough in the air to go all the way over.
I sat and watched this little girl try many times to do this and I was inspired by her will - personally, I would have stopped after a few rounds ending on the floor, but she did not. As I watched, I could only feel pity for this girl - obviously we live in a time where a lot of children are not healthy, but times have not changed that much since I was a little girl and kids are hurtful.
I sat there and watched and waited as the kids finished their class and at the end of the class a woman, very much resembling this girl, walked in and waited. I noticed this woman, I could not miss the resemblance between her and her daughter - she was not there to work out (she was in blue jeans), with her overall disheveled appearance. I smiled as I past this woman on my way out all the while wondering why she was at the gym and why she was not setting a better example for healthy living for her child.
In the days that followed, I noticed this woman more often. It turns out she works at the gym in the child care center any one day she stopped me and asked if DQ could sit with her girls and have some snacks. This woman, who did not know me from anyone else, went out of her way to be nice to my daughter, the only other little girl waiting for the class to begin.
I know it's not much, it's really more like nothing, but something inside of me is ashamed. Not for the way I treated this woman, but for the way I originally 'thought' about this woman, based solely on what she looked like. I don't think of myself as someone who judges based on appearances, I try very hard to look past them because I know very well how deceiving they can be and yet on this occasion - while I didn't treat her any differently I looked at her differently. I saw her as someone who was hurting her child by not taking steps to teach her a healthy life.
I don't know this woman, I don't know her story, I don't know what she does or does not teach her child, but in that moment I passed judgement from one mother to another. Motherhood is hard enough with out judgement from strangers...life is hard enough without judgement from strangers.
Classy Chaos recently posted about appearances - it struck a chord with me because I've worked a long time to not be that person who sees 'hired help' or someone of a different social class and dismisses them based on that alone. I go out of my way to speak, smile, acknowledge people and perhaps I had gotten complacent in my efforts. Perhaps that is what makes this so much more personal for me - I thought I was beyond this behavior and yet I see that just because my words are not verbalized....my thoughts still affect my actions.
I still do not know this woman's story, I do not know what she does or does not teach her child, but I know that she tries, she provides her child with an option to be active and the tools to learn a healthier lifestyle. In her own way, this woman taught me a lesson, one I still need to work on.
Have you ever had a first impression turn out to be wrong?