I went to the movies recently and a mother brought in her two children, one of which was a toddler. As the movie started the kids were quiet and ate their treats. Eventually they got tired of sitting still and started crying and being kids, which annoyed everyone in the theatre. The mother had to take the littlest one out three of four times which greatly impacted everyone’s ability to enjoy the show.
I found myself getting very annoyed at the mother, wondering what she was thinking in bringing children to an afternoon movie? I could tell the people around me were whispering about the same thing. When the movie ended the mother shuffled her kids out and left quickly. I sat and watched the credits wondering about her situation.
I was bothered by the loud crying children and the whole thing ruined the crowds ability to hear the movie. As I sat there I then wondered what was going through her mind? Why this movie? What that afternoon? What if she was a single Mom and this was the only way she ever got to see a movie? What if the children’s father was supposed to pick them up and forgot or cancelled? What if they were homeless and on this hot, humid afternoon this was the only place they could all go to get out of the heat? A Matinee would be a cheap way to spend a few hours.
As I began to imagine what made her make this decision, my attitude was instantly put into check. I was reminded that we have no idea the lives people live and what they are enduring each day. We judge them by what we experience when we interact with them not ever knowing the REAL story. And I was reminded that my actions and life are reacted to the same way by others who only have a brief observation to then make their own assumptions.
I left the theatre reminded that not everyone lives the same life or has the same options. I was reminded to set aside my judgement of others as there is no way I could ever know the real story.