By Tammie Allegro
Recently, my youngest daughter got a pretty bad cough and cold. She was really bummed because it meant the sleepover she had been planning for weeks with her cousins wasn’t going to happen. I felt so bad that she was missing out on the fun of the sleepover that I decided against making her skip the skating birthday party she was also planning on attending. On the way to the party, we stopped to buy a gift, and the whole time we were at the store, I kept reminding her to cover her mouth when she coughed. I even bought extra hand sanitizer for the party.
About two weeks later, our daughter had a friend come over to play. I noticed right away that the little girl was sick. I was appalled that this child was in my home while she was sick. Why would any mother send their sick child to play at my house? I continued to brood over the sick child that was infecting my family for about an hour before I realized something: I am a hypocrite.
I have always thought of myself as a very considerate parent. I keep my kids home when they are sick with a fever. I usually don’t send them to people’s houses when they are sick, nor do I have kids over to our house when they are under the weather. I have friends who are immunocompromised, and I would never take a sick child to their homes. So while I considered myself pretty considerate, deeper reflection reveals I am not as considerate as I thought. I take my kids to the store all the time when they are sick. I take them to dinner at restaurants. Occasionally, as I mentioned earlier, I let them go to a birthday party for fear they will miss out.
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes I heard as a teen: “We judge others by their actions, but we want to be judged by our intentions.” This is so true. I always have the best intentions, but it may not change my actions.
In the moment when I realized my hypocrisy, I thought about the community that I have the privilege of getting to know through this blog and through Facebook. I thought about the many times I have read comments about parents who bring sick kids to places where they then get you or your children sick. I realized in a split second how easy it is to do this and not think about the repercussions it will have for someone else.
I have learned a lot from this realization. I learned that we all do something one day that we judge someone else for doing the next. Another lesson learned is that it is OK for my kids to miss out on things in life. There will be many more parties, dinners or shopping trips that they can attend. And last, I won’t be so quick to judge someone. Instead, I am going to ask myself why they might use poor judgment and, possibly, I might realize they just might not know any better - yet.
Think about the ways in which it is so easy to be hypocritical in life. For instance, have you ever gotten mad at someone who was tailgating you and then days later been in a hurry to get to an appointment and ended up tailgating a slowpoke in front of you? When have you caught yourself being a hypocrite?
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