Thursday, May 3, 2012

First impressions

This post is brought on by a photo I came across today on Facebook.

Have you ever had a moment where you first impression of someone is negative but after you hear their story, your impression takes a 360?

I had that moment a few days ago. I was shadowing a co-worker on a case with two kids and we took the kids to the park.
While there, I noticed a girl that looked to me, about 16, who was carrying a tiny newborn around. She was surrounded by redneck ( for lack of a better word) boys, was dressed in teeny tiny booty shorts, and was walking around the park barefoot. The day was bright and sunny, around 70 degrees yet the child had no hat or protective clothing from the sun.

My first impression: disgust, disapproval, and pity. I'm thinking "look at this teenager, walking around with a newborn in the heat, looking like trailer trash. I wonder how many more kids she has, did she finish school, and who's the baby daddy?"

I don't say a word out loud, at the same time telling myself to quit being so judgmental. It is a bad habit that really gets me nowhere.

When we get in the car to leave, the girl we are with starts talking about the girl with the baby. She says when the baby was born, she was left in the birth canal too long and suffered a fracture on her skull. It possibly caused brain damage and did cause seizures. The baby had to be taken to a children's hospital and stayed for three months.

Then she tells us that the mother also has a stillborn the year before.

Oh the guilt I felt for being such an ass to judge this girl. The pain she has endured and all I thought when I saw her was "trailer trash".
I couldn't take one minute to try and understand the girl's situation; I just assumed.

We pass by hundreds of people each day, never thinking that the majority of them are suffering, are in pain, or have lost someone dear to them. The assumptions we have, the first impressions and the looks of disapproval. I'm sure people have looked at me thinking " mother, wife, stay at home mom" but never take the time to know the pain and loss I have endured.
We should not make a first impression till after talking to someone and taking the time to hear their story. You never know the struggles people deal with on a daily basis and we all need to slow down and quit being so judgmental.
I know I'm not one to preach as I have yet to stop doing this myself, I just hope by reading this you will slow down next time and tell yourself " I don't know this person's story".