In the past few weeks the news has been flooded with coverage of accidents involving children and the blame people are placing on their parents. A simple search for the “Zoo Mom” and now the “Alligator Parents” will bring up thousands of articles and posts detailing these horrific events and offering brutal judgement for the parents involved.
Michelle Gregg and her son Isaiah are recovering from their ordeal. Melissa and Matt Graves will likely never recover from losing their toddler Lane.
As a society, we forget that we are no different than these parents. We love our children deeply, we hope to create meaningful memories in fun places, we do our best to protect our families, and we never expect to be thrown into a media firestorm.
My heart aches for these families, especially the Graves. They are experiencing their darkest days and will be for a long time to come. Dealing with the death of a child would be physical and emotional torture, incomprehensible pain.
Parenting is hard. Building a strong and loving family is hard. Judging and criticizing others in their time of trial is easy, pathetically easy. It’s so simple to jump on any social media platform and post words of hate and blame. It’s almost effortless to cast scorn and say “I would never …”.
The truth is…none of us has any idea when or if we will be in the Grave’s shoes. We simply do not know what lies ahead in our lives. Will shaming and criticizing these parents make us better and stronger? Will it benefit anyone?
In a recent General Conference address President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said,
“Stop it! It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children.”
Praying for the Grave’s family and others will grow more love in our hearts.
Treating others, especially the “Blamers” and “Shamers” with love and kindness will add to that love.
And someday, if we find ourselves in the midst of unthinkable tragedy, may we be the recipients of heartfelt love and compassion.