I have read so many sad and tragic stories in the news recently. There seems to be death and destruction everywhere. I have to admit it’s been getting me down lately. There are some of the stories I just can’t seem to get out of my head though. Of course attacks like in Turkey, France, Germany, Belgium and across many countries throughout the world; the ongoing wars in many countries and the oppression of people is so terrible and hard to comprehend. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are some very bad people in the world. I also think there are some impressionable and sometimes vulnerable people, who are indoctrinated and brainwashed into thinking a certain way and some people who are most likely mentally ill. This doesn’t change what they’ve done or make the families feel any better though.
The stories I have found stuck with me most over the past few days, were the more local ones; related to the deaths of children in tragic circumstances while they were playing, going on holiday or enjoying days out with their families or friends. The circumstances themselves are upsetting and tragic enough; families shattered in an instant because of some unforeseen event or circumstance. I can’t (and don’t ever want to) begin to imagine how these families feel. What I find all the more heartbreaking is the reaction of certain other people.
People who immediately jump onboard to criticise or vilify the people involved. People who are nothing to do with the family and were not present during or involved in the matter at hand. People who obviously have very little compassion or empathy. People who are seemingly so perfect that they would never have a momentary lapse of concentration, never let their child out of their sight for even a second or never allow their child the freedom to go out to play and explore with their friends.
Why do people feel the need to, or even feel entitled to pass judgment on others and on situations they know little about? Why do they think people want or need to hear what they have to say on the matter? Do they think it’s helpful to anyone involved?
I find myself asking why people would want to comment in such a way. Is it for attention? Is it because they feel others are passing remarks and they want to jump on the bandwagon? Is it because, to an extent, it’s a faceless and anonymous thing to do nowadays in this time of living things out on social media? Is it because they feel the parents of these children need to be told that they are to blame (whether they actually are or not?) Do they think it’s helpful in any way for anyone? Maybe it makes them feel better about themselves or superior to others in some way. No matter what the reason, I cannot fathom why anyone would take the time and make the effort to deliberately try to make someone else feel worse than they already do. If it’s possible to make those parents feel any worse.
I’ve always tried to be a nice person and to show understanding and kindness to others. I admit I’m not the most patient person and I can get frustrated when I’m in a hurry and people get in my way. My in-car road rage/rants at others are not my proudest moments. However, I would not belittle someone, degrade them, humiliate them or treat them in a nasty way. My mum always said ‘If you have nothing nice to say, it’s better to say nothing at all.’ In my dealings with people I always try to follow the old adage ‘treat others as you would like them to treat you.’ Even better than this; treat others as you would like your children to be treated.
No one is perfect, no one is above reproach and no one has the right to sit in judgment on another. You never know what’s around the corner for you. You also don’t know that person, the full circumstances, what’s already going on in their life and the feelings they are already experiencing. No one can truly know the battles another faces, as many battles are secret and we keep them from others. I’m a great believer that we can all help each other out a little, just by being kind. Don’t do it for grace or gratitude, do it because you can. We can all make a difference to the lives of others. No matter how small the act of kindness is, it’s never wasted or useless. You never know when your little gesture will be just what someone needs to help them through the day, to help them keep going, to get them over another hurdle or past a dark moment. You never know when you might need someone to return the favour. Even if it’s not that profound it might still just make someone’s day, or yours.