Be Kind- Our Children are Watching

It’s been really difficult to keep my anxiety in check over the last few months.  Between trying to teach my daughter from home, to the nastiness on social media, I am a mess. I have tried to respect other people’s opinions and not play judge and jury.  My job is to take care of myself and my family.  I’m even sensitive to what I’m posting on social media because I don’t want to offend anyone and I certainly am not ready for a political/Covid battle.

However, last week I hit my breaking point. I picked up Ella from camp on Thursday, and was informed that a woman at the beach was upset that the children were what she described as “too close” to her and her daughter. Of course there are two sides to every story so I will share hers first. She claims she asked the counselors to stay away and even stood between the campers and her daughter, but that they wouldn’t listen. You can imagine the camp had a slightly different point of view- they said they did not go near this person and that she did not ask them nicely to get back.

Well let’s just fast forwarded through she said, they said. The point of this is not who got too close or wasn’t social distancing. The point is my daughter was traumatized after this woman decided to start yelling at the camp counselors and using very vulgar language in front of the children. She was also taking photographs of the group to, as she says, show the city. The problem is the children were in bathing suits and I believe at least one photo was posted on social media without parental consent.  A rep from the city was called down and the woman continued her foul language with this person. Eventually the police were called but she was gone by the time they arrived.

We were told of the incident when we picked up our children. Later that day I was informed the woman had posted about the incident on a FB page, calling the children “plague rats”. That was my breaking point. I was so upset that my daughter, who is only 8, not only had to hear the language but was also called that name on social media. I was angry and so was my husband. We were ready to take the matter to the next level- whatever that was going to be. Ella talked about the incident for days, describing how scared she was.

The next day, I believe, I received a private message from the woman, apologizing for her behavior and explaining why she acted so poorly. Her daughter had health issues from infancy so the mother was acting out of a very real fear  As much as I understood that and I appreciated the apology, I was still upset because this just shouldn’t happen-especially in front of our children.  We are all on edge and unsure of what is right. This was an innocent, non intential incident that should not have escalated to that level.

Our children are watching us. They are learning how to deal with this crisis from us. They are developing opinions and thoughts based on how we act. We need to do better. We need to be better. It doesn’t matter your political beliefs or even your medical opinion on Covid 19.  We need to be kind and give grace. What kind of a world will our children inherit if we keep attacking each other via social media and, even worse, in person???  Yes we need to protect our children from danger, but we also need to set an example. I posted about this on my FB page from beginning to end and it was interesting how people’s opinions changed after hearing the entire story and apology. That’s why we cannot have “knee-jerk” reactions to things. We can’t attack people for not wearing a mask or for asking you to wear one when you don’t want to. If someone gets too close, you need to just be responsible for yourself and leave the situation. Standing on a beach yelling at a bunch of teenagers without your mask on is definitely not the right way to handle it.

I am grateful this incident happened because it really made me think more about how our actions affect our children. Please be kind- they are watching us.