(DISCLAIMER: Please note that this blog will basically be a judgmental rant on someone I was around today. Sorry. I decided it was better to write it here to get it out of my system instead of boring friends and unloading on my husband. The only people who would truly understand are those that were there to witness this, but in any case, I’m still writing about it as, honestly. I’m thoroughly pissed off. You have been warned.)
I do my best to not be a judgmental person, but I learned very clearly in the Landmark Forum that human beings are on automatic pilot when it comes to being judgmental. We all do it, but it’s what we do with those thoughts that really counts, I guess. Most of us, I would think, tend to judge and then go to the next step in our day. There are some times when we may verbally judge to someone’s face, complain about a person to someone else or maybe just let it bother us. I’m in the latter category today.
I do have to say it kills me sometimes, not only how judgmental I am, but more importantly, how the actions or words of others tend to affect me. Hence, the reason for this blog.
This morning I brought my daughter to her weekly class at Isis. She loves this class, as do I. It’s the last room with the teacher as the parents wait in the building for an hour. It’s a good break for me as I get to chat with the other parents (mostly moms) and great for Jackie as she gets to be with her friends and gain some additional independence and self-esteem–a win-win.
Jackie has been in this particular class with mostly the same kids for 9 months. This term, a new little boy was added to the group, which I thought was great. It’s good to bring in new students for all involved. The established kids get to learn what it is to include a new person and the new person gets to learn about assertiveness and how to make new friends. The teacher is there to facilitate all of this and, in my opinion, we have one of the best instructors that Isis has to offer.
When this new little boy started, his dad brought him to class. This is very different as mostly moms are bringing the kiddos as moms are typically the stay at homes, but in this economy, I’ve been seeing more stay at home dads these days. It was a great change of pace and initially good conversation. It wasn’t within 2 minutes of meeting this new dad, however, that I started to have questions. He seemed more anxious than his son starting this class. He was concerned that all the other kids “knew each other” and seemed to think that his son would be excluded from the others (again, this is why there is a teacher there!). I reassured him that our instructor was one of the best and not to worry. His son may need a bit of time to acclimate, but knowing my daughter and the others in the class, I knew he’d be fine.
The dad was still very concerned and actually asked my daughter to “please include him” and then later told me that due to his son’s age (he’s usually the youngest.. FYI, my daughter is too), and therefore has some adjustment issues (HUH??). He also said he was shy and everything else you could say around that word. I still reassured him that he’d be fine and our kids were very nice and inclusive.
I was happy to see that I was right.
Things seemed to be going well all these weeks. His son was laughing and playing with the others each week, didn’t seem anxious or misplaced at all and generally was having fun.
What continually seemed odd was that Dad stayed away from us other moms across the room. Granted, there wasn’t enough large seats where we sit, but we continually said that we’d bring a seat over, etc. He continually said he wanted to sit BY THE DOOR in case his son got upset and bolted. Bolted? The door is shut and once again, THERE’S A TEACHER THERE. These instructors who are chosen to teach this class tend to be the most educated in child education and have kids themselves. This is only an hour class and designed to assist your child to move to the next level, which is usually preschool. Our instructor can handle it.
This dad has kept his distance, has had limited conversations with us, leaves immediately after class when the other kids tend to play in the play kitchen area of the building, and still seems to have a concern. Don’t get me wrong, he hasn’t come across egotistical, elitist or anything like that, but he’s definitely being deliberate regarding where he sits. As an aside, I nurse my son each week I’m there and every time I do, Dad is generally on the phone–by the door. Most conversations I’ve overheard are general, but this week’s was an exception. He was speaking in a low tone so people couldn’t hear, was making statements as he was looking into the room thru the small window in the shut door. I was a bit perplexed–had something happened?
Before I went to nurse, I made small talk as I always do. I love Isis and feel like I have an obligation to bring new people in as we’ve been taking classes there since my daughter was 6 weeks old (she’s three now). It’s a great place and I want everyone to enjoy it and have the same experiences I have had. Making a bit of small talk is just nice in general and I’d always hoped it may make him feel more at home and possibly join us on the other side of the building one week. Dad seemed fine with our 1-2 minutes of talking about his book and I went on my way.
It was after that that I heard part of the phone call. When I was done nursing, I was completely floored to find him talking to my mom friend about our instructor and his dissatisfaction with how she was treating his son. WHAT?? Were we talking about the same person? Although when I walked up it seemed that he was at the end of his rant, but I had heard enough. He said that the instructor seemed to be “singling him (his son) out” and at one point “she picked him up and placed him down.. I don’t dig that. She’s treating him like he’s retarded.” Retarded???? I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was wondering what he was seeing or hearing as I trust this woman with my daughter to the highest degree. Now, I do have to say I tend to be a different type of parent. If I trust whoever is in charge, I don’t care if they need to physically move my daughter from place to place, reprimand her if needed, etc. Some parents get crazy over that and maybe he’s one of them, but I think he’s totally not clear on what this class is about and what the teacher has to do to keep the class at a level that it doesn’t get out of hand (e.g., stopping one student from continually running around the classroom so other students will be safe).
I just couldn’t believe my ears. I asked my mom friend who had basically had the entire conversation with him what was going on. We were both confused. I did tell her about the Isis policy regarding classes with parents IN the class. Teachers are not to touch the kids in the class, nor are the other parents. It’s up to the parent to redirect their child, etc. so that everyone is safe. But our class is the exception.
After our brief conversation she ran over to Dad to encourage him to talk to our instructor. It was obvious that he was looking and listening to what our teacher was doing thru some filter and he had totally misinterpreted what she was trying to do. I asked her when she came back if he agreed and she didn’t say that he did, but she hoped for the best. I then asked her what we should do. What if he doesn’t say anything to her? Do we say anything? Now that I knew this information and was part of his little rant, I wasn’t sure if I could keep my mouth shut. I was hoping that at least this week Dad would let his son come and play and talk to our instructor. Find some resolution and be able to end our session next week complete and happy that his son was part of the class… or, even choose not to come back; that maybe this wasn’t the best class for his son, but at least got some closure. Unfortunately, he just bolted as usual.
I debated for about 10 seconds on whether I was going to ask our instructor if he said anything. I walked over and asked and she told me he hadn’t. As I was talking I felt like I was being a tattle tale, but I had to follow my gut. I felt she needed to know, not to say anything to the Dad, but just to be aware. Was there something she could change with his son? Was there something she could say to the Dad to make him feel better? In the end, we both agreed there’s only so much one can do but if someone is not willing to open up, share or even complain. No changes can be made if there’s no communication.
After our conversation, I felt good about saying something, but also realized how fearful we are as human beings. Although I don’t like conflict, I tend to try to take it on as much as possible. I am not immune to fear, especially when it comes to close friends, but I do my best to try to get resolution on as many things as I can to clear the space. But, I think so many people are just willing to walk away and be mad, never getting resolution and then a filter is created for the next class they take their kid to, whether it’s the same place or not!
I’ve fantasized on what I would have said if I was ready for his comments today. I would have been straight with him because in the end, I feel he’s doing damage to his son. I could really care less about him, but his son seems like a cool kid and still happy. If he starts getting Dad’s energy and ideas about how shy he is and how young he is and how hard it is for him to acclimate to new surroundings, well then, he’ll probably end up that way. Fearful of life.
These Isis classes have been so instrumental to my daughter and I attribute so much to them.. I have no idea where I’d be without them and what Jackie would “look like” without all these great teachers and instruction.. not to mention the connections I’ve made with other moms.
I left Isis today pretty mad. Wondering if he’ll even come back next week and if he does will I even say anything? I’ll have to see how I’m feeling and who’s around to do it as I wouldn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, but I’ll just have to go with my gut.
For those that got this far and are parents, I have a request.. if you’re upset with something, just say something. Whether it’s in your life, or something that affects your kids, just say something. It’s not worth making up stories and enduring anger or anything else when it can all be resolved with communication. If you’re paying for a service, you have a right to say something. Maybe something just doesn’t match your parenting style, or in general it’s not a good fit, fine. But at least get it resolved.
I hope this Dad figures out what’s going on and in a way after next week I’m glad I won’t see him. My heart breaks for his son.. all I can hope is that he can see over his dad’s fears and persevere. It’s hard to do that at three, but odder things have happened.