Our kids are still doing virtual school so most of our lunch time is trying to get some of their energy out. The other day we went sledding at a good hill over by Riverside High School and were on our way home when there was a car with a chair hanging out the back of it. The chair didn’t appear to be strapped in so I was cautious as it seemed like it could fall out at any moment. I wondered why they choose to put this furniture in this car just as Mae was saying the same thing out loud. I could hear the gears working in her head as she said, “I wonder why… maybe.. maybe they don’t have another car, maybe that is their only option and that is the reason that the chair is hanging out of their trunk like that.” I stopped my thoughts to look back at my daughter. I was in the midst of judging these people and she corrected the way I was thinking with an empathetic lens. She had the foresight to look past their current situation and see that they weren’t given another choice, that car was their only option.
There are so many times when I judge first. When I see kids being picked up at daycare at 10PM. When a person drives down my street with a flat tire. When a mom goes to the corner store for groceries. I judge so many times when it should be clear that they were given no other options. There are so many people in our community who simply don’t have another choice and out of my privilege, I overlook this truth with a judging eye.
I can judge people for making decisions I would never dream of making or I can look into their decisions and see what options they were given in the past. And then I can either see their life through an empathic lens or help them out.