If you saw a mom struggling to discipline her child, would you call the police? One woman did that, and she regretted her decision for years. She now tells people not to be too quick to judge others.
A few years ago, Megan Orr Burnside and her husband were in Tennessee for a training event when they saw a mom struggling to get a young boy into the car. She thought the woman was abusing the boy, but later realized she was wrong.
In a Facebook post, Burnside recalled that the boy was about 10 years old and “he was screaming” while the mom “was so angry and frustrated.” “We watched her get him in the car and there was a lot of physical fighting in the car,” Burnside wrote, adding that that’s when they called the police and left when the police arrived.
Later, she got a call from the police and was told that the boy was autistic and the mom had called the police in the past for help “because he was very violent.” The police added that the mom was “doing the best she can.”
“I had the most overwhelming realization of my mistake,” Burnside wrote. She described how she had “sat and watched her struggle” instead of offering some help. She could still feel the guilt after many years had passed.
Then, a similar incident that Burnside experienced a few weeks ago allowed her to redeem herself.
“One toddler boy was fussing and the other boy was asking his mother to buy things,” Burnside recalled. Instead of just watching on, as everybody else was doing in the thrift store, she walked up to calm the little boy, and told the woman that “she was a good mom.” Burnside’s actions and words made the woman cry.
Through this incident, she observed: “I feel like we have become a culture who watches for faults instead of opportunities to help.”
On the day of her post, a similar incident happened to her friend after someone called the Department of Children and Family Services (DCSF) when she had a respiratory infection.
“I am sad that the person who called her in didn’t ask how they could HELP HER,” she wrote.
Burnside ended her story with a strong message to people.
“It’s time to stop judging each other and start helping each other, or we will only perpetuate isolation, depression, addictions, violence, and suicide. When people are overwhelmed they need help, not condemnation. I know I have been guilty for doing this very thing and I see clearly how I probably perpetuated the problem instead of helping to uplift and assist others.
“I am grateful for reminders (even painful reminders) that we are not that separate. We are not that different. True change comes when we are given love and help, not condemnation.”