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10/25/11

I'll Be The Judge Of That

I won't beat around the bush; I'm a judgmental person. It's rare for a day to go by where I'm not raising an eyebrow at someone for something they've done or said that I find to be less than intelligent or not my style. Am I proud of it? No. Do I wish I could change it? Sort of. Has my constant eye for scrutinizing others paid off at times, or resulted in me being "right" in my judgment? That's where things get hairy.

If there's one area in my life where I've tried to hold back a little on being judgmental, it's toward other parents. My last 2 years as a father have taught me a couple things. 1) There's no tried and true method to parenting. What might seem "right" to one parent could be totally ineffective and wrong for another. 2) What might seem like questionable parenting at first glance may have a much deeper story to it. I don't know how many times Ava has fallen or hurt herself, leaving a noticeable wound on her face, arm, etc. And EVERY time, I worry that I'm going to take her out in public and someone will think I have been abusing her or something.

With all of that being said, sometimes my mental alarm still blares when I see parents do certain things. Every now and then I'll just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and some mom or dad triggers my Derpdar (like Gaydar but for idiots) and I can't help but put my judge's robe on.

Example: I was recently driving to the gym, and as I turned into the gym parking lot, a dad was leading his 2 children on a weaving bike ride right through the middle of the parking lot. Now, granted, this isn't exactly a Walmart parking lot on Sunday, but there were still plenty of cars pulling in and out of the lot and having to come to sudden stops to avoid hitting this family. If it was just the grown man doing this, I would  have said whatever, and gone along with my day hoping that this imbecile gets knocked off his Huffy as karmic retribution for being a moron. But here he was, guiding 2 kids that couldn't have been older than 9, in what was literally the worst place to ride a bike other than right out on 135th Street.

Yes, I judged this guy. And no, I don't feel sorry. He was being a bonehead. And when you are dragging your kids into your ill-thought-out, dangerous activities and putting them at risk of getting hurt, you deserved to be judged a little bit.

Judge Judy riding her invisible Derpcycle.

Example 2: While using self-checkout at the grocery store recently, the other self-check lane was occupied by two women, one with a small toddler in the shopping cart, the other with an especially rambunctious boy, probably around 4 years old. This kid was definitely a bit over-energetic, but it's not like he was a feral child climbing the walls and attacking innocent patrons. But the way that his mother was acting towards him, you would have thought he was committing felonies. Never have I heard a woman be so unnecessarily loud toward her child, repeatedly use the word 'stupid' to describe him, and then the clincher was when she reached back, grabbed a fistful of his hair, and dragged him by his head forward to where she was. The kid was clearly in pain (hell, I cringed just watching it) and the mom showed no remorse.

Now in this situation, there was no "Well maybe there's more to the story than what I've seen." This was just a woman being a jackass, for lack of a better term, toward her kid. And clearly, I wasn't the only one who thought so because shortly after the hair dragging incident occurred, another woman walked up to the mother and made a comment about it being unnecessary. Of course, this started another explosion, but that exchange could fill a blog post itself. Yep, I judged the hell out of this woman, and deservingly so. In the end, she was acting like more of an animal than her son.

It's silly to say 'Don't judge others'. Because really, it's an impossible feat. Sure, there might be some religious zealots out there that disagree, but the reality is, there are situations where judging isn't done to be mean, but is done out of genuine concern for another human being. I didn't judge the parents in these two instances because they were wearing something weird, or smelled like old cheese, or something else petty along those lines. I questioned their actions because I was legitimately concerned for the safety and well-being of their kids. Don't feel bad for judging others if, at the root of it all, you have valid concerns or good intentions. To me, being judgmental, like eating fried food, is okay in moderation.

Being judgmental is just harder to dip in ranch dressing.

3 comments:

I'm extremely judgemental of nasty old men who leave candy out for children on Halloween - and I feel that I'm justified in this judgement, right?

Kendall, you are 100% justified in that judgment! To the point where it's probably appropriate to go steal said candy.

If I could have a permanent facebook or twitter status, it would likely say "I'm judging." In my opinion, this means I'm observing and throwing a flag (in my head) when I see something fishy. So if "judging" means that I'm aware of an oddity, then, actually, I will go ahead and consider it a survival skill. Judge on...

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