Mary Katherine Backstorm of Mom Babble shares a story with us that will leave you in tears and thankful for your village– even the village you didn’t realize you had.
While waiting in the Target checkout line, Backstrom noticed a few kids in front of her were making fun of the employee who was checking them out. He suffered from a head trauma which caused severe cranial deformities, and visible head staples with drooping eyes: “He looked like he had a very devastating time or surgery,” she says.
She noticed the kids were mocking him, and trying to take pictures of him to post on SnapChat. Saddened, and enraged, she took a stand and called them out. “My heart was racing, I am not very confrontational,” says Backstrom. There are many people who would have listened to those anxious feelings, and walked the other way, but she didn’t.
She realized she had a voice, and her message needed to be heard by those kids, right then. She approached them outside, and asked how they thought the man would feel, if he knew they were mocking him. She let them know that she saw what they were doing, and she was disappointed by their actions.
She didn’t stop there, and as a mother of three teenagers myself, this is the part that I truly appreciate about her story: She asked them how they were getting home, and after finding out their mom was picking them up, Backstrom decided the best thing to do would be to wait and tell their mother what had transpired, despite being worried she may not get a kind reaction.
After explaining the situation to the mother: that the kids were taking pictures of the employee and sending them to friends, the kids were obviously terrified, and the mother was truly grateful that Backstrom had decided to wait for her, so she could handle the situation at home with her children.
After the interaction ended, Backstrom realized she had more to say to the mother: “As terrified as I was, sometimes it takes a village to raise these kids. This mom is a freaking good mom. She is a kind woman. I just wanted to say to the lady whose kid just acted like a complete butthole in Target, you’re a really good mom and I didn’t get a chance to tell you that. I know you are about to go home and straighten your kids out.”
Backstrom encourages other parents to follow her lead when they see kids acting inappropriately. “This is a refining process for them,” she says, and she is so right. Even the nicest, most well behaved kids can be complete assholes sometimes. And instead of shaking our head and walking away, approaching them and calling them out is hopefully only going to prevent further incidents, or at least make them think twice. We can’t expect kids to learn from their mistakes if we simply ignore them when they are acting cruel and foolish.
Backstrom goes on to say that she also wants her kids being called out in these situations as well. I am co-signing this message because I would want someone to call my kids out, and wait around for me, if they were caught being mean.
Mary Katherine Backstrom did the right thing, and we all can learn an important lesson here.
It can be hard as a parent to hear from another parent that your child has royally screwed up, but when we take the information we are given and turn it into something positive- like these mothers did- we all benefit; especially our children.
Backstrom ends with,”This was an adult success, let’s help each others kids not grow into buttholes, okay.”
You’ve got a deal.