One of the reasons I have been MIA the last couple of days is because on Sunday and Monday I was in Pennsylvania with Number 4 at an open house for a boarding school she really wants to go to starting next year.
More on that in another blog post, but let me tell you that she felt like she had found her home and her people at this school, and she is determined to find a way to go there.
Anyway, the morning started with all the parents and prospective students meeting in the student center.
Some kids were there with one parent, some kids were there with both parents, and some kids had siblings with them because a lot of districts had no school on Monday since it was Columbus Day or Indigenous People’s Day.
After about fifteen minutes of mingling, the Associate Head Of School For External Relations got up and spoke to everyone.
There were probably about 200 people in the room.
The Associate Director was funny and cool and laid back and not stuffy like you might expect an Associate Head Of School at a boarding school to be.
Everyone was listening to him pretty intently.
Except for one little boy who was the younger brother of a prospective student.
He was probably about nine or ten, and he was playing on his device, which I totally understood because these things aren’t all that much fun for little kids, except the volume was turned up and he was playing some sort of game that was making a lot of noise.
Like A LOT OF NOISE.
And his parents weren’t really doing anything about it.
I went straight into judgment mode. Big time.
I shot a couple side eye glances at the parents.
The mom tried to take the device but the kid started to throw a fit and it looked like she was nervous he was gonna have a total tantrum and that would have been worse, so she kind of just gave up.
I looked at my husband and rolled my eyes.
After about ten minutes, they divided the students and parents into two different groups, and then the parents were divided into smaller groups and the students were divided into smaller groups, and each group was sent on a tour of the campus with a couple student tour guides.
Wouldn’t you know we were in the same group with the parents who had no control of the kid on the super loud device.
I turned to my husband and whispered, Great.
It took me about three minutes to feel like a complete asshole.
Because that was how long it took me to realize that the boy with the device was autistic.
And this whole open house thing was probably sending him into sensory overload.
And his parents, who were probably wanting to make a really good impression for their daughter were probably stressed and hyper aware of the looks and stares and glares and silent judgments they were getting from other parents.
And so it was on Monday that I was given a big reminder that I can still be pretty judgmental about other people’s parenting and other people’s children’s behavior, and until you get to know someone a little bit, you really have no idea what they are going through.
The next time I’m about to roll my eyes at someone or their kids, I’m going to remember this not-so-little lesson and remind myself that you never know the whole story.
And maybe you’ll remember this blog post and do the same thing, too.