11.02.2007

cussing at children

We were running errands. Divide and conquer is our strategy. Brian and Elliot went to Trader Joe's while I took the older three to Carter's. As we were crossing the street to get to the store, an older woman dropped her change purse in the street while crossing in the opposite direction. There was a car approaching, so I knew the right thing to do would be help her pick up her scattered change. I called to her and said we would help her and I thought I heard her grumble about something, but I assumed she was mad and frustrated that she had dropped her money. So, quickly, I told my boys to run and help her pick it up.
MISTAKE.
They, being the sweet boys that they are, did as I asked. Oliver was bent over in seconds to help and the woman almost stepped on his hands!! She stomped on her money to prevent them from helping and then said, "Go to Hell!" My jaw dropped. I thought perhaps that she thought they were going to steal her money or something. I said, "They're not going to take it, they are trying to help." She repeated, "Go to Hell. Blah, blah, blah, negative something about war, or violence... Go to Hell." I was shocked.
Completely shocked.
I called them back (this was a matter of seconds.) They were in my arms, safely, and I heard her say it AGAIN. I told them let's go... and turned and said loudly, "You need to watch your language." And of course that merited another wish of damnation.
I made sure to keep talking loudly to the kids as we walked away so that they wouldn't hear anymore from her. What a poor deranged soul! To curse at children?!

The kids were in slight shock in the store. I think they were scared that she might come in. They kept asking me, "Why did she say that? What does 'go to hell' mean? She almost stepped on my hand!"
I told them that she was mentally sick~ that any normal adult does not cuss at children who are trying to help them. And I told them that Hell means without God. Oliver replied, "So she wants us to be in hell and I bet she wants to be with God." (hmmm~ not sure about that one.)
I'm afraid they won't forget this encounter. All throughout the store, we chatted about mental illness, life after death, how to respond to hateful actions, and why we shouldn't say, "Go to hell."
I'm sure the others in there were wondering. And I realized that I literally would have even physically fought this woman if needed to protect my kids. Unfortunately, my hunch is that she is the one who should have been protected years ago.

11 comments:

G. Twilley said...

What a great way to respond! I think your last sentence really hits at the core of her predicament. As always, thanks for sharing, Katie!

Angie Davis said...

wow katie. i think my responses to just reading this might have flowed like yours. at first shock and "how dare she", then anger - i wanted to go punch her too, then sadness......

thanks for sharing.

terriblespeller said...

I hate that happened to your kids, but I agree with your last statement. My heart breaks for her.

Promise Christian Academy said...

Wow! what an episode! Poor woman! I wonder that no one was with her...?.... Well, I am glad of your chance to talk to the children about these deep subjects. Talk about a teachable moment!
Hilda Rebecca

keri said...

crazy. i really wonder what she was thinking. so i guess we can really say that she was abnormal, right? one of those people we need to give grace to?? she has a story, and i SO wonder what it is. you handled it well with your kids. and i know i would've responded the same way.

jess said...

oh my! i think you hit the nail on the head that she should have been protected years ago...and i know your kids will remember how you guided them through what happened afterwards.

Jean Joiner said...

i can't believe that happend to you guys. our new pastor says that people hurt you in the same way that they were once hurt, so i think you're right, kate.

The Hiatt Family said...

Oh, Katie, I don't know whether to laugh or cry! What a teaching moment-you're right that this will stick with them for a good long while, but I know that what they learned from you will be forever cemented in their little hearts and minds. Good job in the midst of a crazy situation!

Lizard said...

KATIE-I am so sorry that happened. Wow. We really can't protect our children from the world can we?? Ugh.

Our Family of Five said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I've kind of experienced this same thing, but as an onlooker, not to my kids personally, and its only been since we moved to FL. I finally asked my husband if its just the way Floridians respond to children or what? If it's not the SAMS Club employee speaking harshly (very harshly) to what looked to be a 4 or 5 year old, its the grumpy old man at the Caverns State Park, that has no business leading a tour of school-age children. (and what really got me is that the parents just stood there!) Granted, swearing at children ranks up there in an entirely different category...... but either way, it gets my blood boiling.

May God just wipe that awful memory away from your little one's minds. May the Lord bless them for their helpfulness and that they continue to serve others in such a loving way. God Bless!

Tiffany said...

What a nutty old bat!!! No normal people do not do that! What a horrible thing for a child to experience. So great you were able to talk to them about it.