This week I have been thinking a lot about the old saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. Can we tell by appearances whether someone is a responsible parent? During the last year have I observed over and over that we can’t. A beautiful four year old little girl, very clean, cute, and dressed very nice would appear to have a responsible Mom. Until I began to see her 4, or even 5 houses away from her own, no adult in site, wandering around. Once, she was carrying her pretty dress on a Sunday, and I went out to help her put it on, so she wasn’t walking around in her under garments. Her Mom is attractive, dresses casual but nice, and is very friendly.
In contrast, the woman across the street, has problems with her social skills and is very stiff, dresses a little rough and does have a loud, harsh voice. Her son is ADD and probably autistic to some extent from what I can tell. He is never allowed to stray from the porch unless she is there with him. She sits out front for the bus every morning, and meets him every afternoon. Yes, she is rough and not a social person, but does she care for him? I think so.
These are two examples, but I have many more. I think we all need to put appearances aside as we meet people in our neighborhoods and in our schools. People often appear rough or awkward because of their financial situations or their upbringing. They may not speak English. They may not have social skills. The person inside is what counts. I remember when I was growing up on our farm we had some lean years. It wasn’t until I was an adult and looked back on it that I realized this. As kids we never knew if it was a “good year” or a “bad year”. My parents loved us, and we felt safe and secure. This was much more important than appearances. When you look at that Mom in your neighborhood that appears a little rough, remember that you don’t know what is in her heart.
A child feels loved when they ARE loved, not just because they have nice clothes or a fashionable Mom. There are a lot of rough looking books out there, but the message written on the pages is what influences children, sometimes forever.