Follow up: The Woman Contacted Me

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So turns out, if you live in a small town, it’s difficult to be passive aggressive via blogging. I shared “To The Woman At Burger King:” on Facebook soon after I posted it and it quickly spread around my friends’ pages, then their friends’ pages and so on. Very soon after, I received a message. It was from the woman I wrote to. She read the post and recognized that I was talking about her. Obviously I meant what I said, but I was still nervous to read her response as I never thought she’d actually see it. (There’s a lesson in that somewhere…)

She introduced herself, explained who she was, and proceeded to sincerely apologize for her comment. She said she didn’t mean to hurt anyone and tries to be the best parent she can be. I told her not to take it personally as it really is a problem with society. We shared stories about the men who have screwed us over and she told me the blog actually made her tear up while she was reading it. She said she’d watch what she said to her daughter from now on and that my son is going to grow up to be great.

I’ve gained so much respect for her from that. She didn’t have to contact me–I never would have known who she was. And she didn’t have to take it well. Honestly, if it’d been me, I think my hot-headed self would have either ignored it or been sassy about it (just because I have this issue with criticism and taking things personally…I’m working on it). This turned out to be the best case scenario for how this could have played out and she genuinely took what I said to heart.

I didn’t expect that post to end up getting the response it has…and I definitely didn’t expect her to get the chance to read it. I’m grateful people actually took the time to share it and maybe it made a difference. So thank you.

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48 thoughts on “Follow up: The Woman Contacted Me

  1. First of all, I just wanted to tell you that these photos are absolutely gorgeous!

    I loved reading this two part story. People really don’t understand the impact their words can have, and often in a misguided attempt to achieve something they have no control over, they end up having the opposite effect than intended. To use such generalized descriptions, especially so unnecessarily, and at a time when a child is just learning to understand categories and groups and apply labels to objects and people is far more harmful than people think. (Sorry, my psychology Major is showing lol).

    But take for example pointing to the field and saying “look a rabbit!”. There are a million things they can apply the word rabbit to: the grass, a rock, the rabbit, a tree, a flower etc etc. A lot of work goes into the learning process. So to say to her “boys are bad”, and then use the word bad to describe playing with fire, throwing poop, or anything else… How confusing is that? Either the word bad loses its true significance, cause she wouldn’t see any of those “bad” attributes in an innocent play mate of hers, or it gives her a complex… To be afraid of boys, or to be afraid that mommy won’t like her if she thinks a boy is not bad so she plays with him, or to feel like she’s doing something wrong by socially interacting with boys.

    Either way, it doesn’t look good. Not to mention the fact that, as you clearly illustrated in your description of your son: your gender has nothing to do with good or bad. Teach your children to find behaviors or characteristics bad, and make sure you tell your child that the behavior was bad, not that they are “a bad boy/girl”.

    I find it amazing that this woman reached out to you and you were able to have a connection and find some common ground. Hopefully the entire experience will have this woman realizing that the crap luck she’s had in the men she’s chosen doesn’t mean that the entire sea is full of crappy fish.

    Great posts, and congrats on the freshly pressed status!
    Cheers

      • As a mother of a son and daughter, I applaud your forwardness. We do joke about “icky” boys to our ten year old girl but she also knows that boys and men are not all “bad.” Her brothers are great examples of great boys who will become great men. And that out there are just as great boys who will be just as great men.

        Daddy is still polishing his bat though… 😉

  2. Sometimes it takes a complete stranger to make us see how we appear to others or how we behave. Too often something hurtful is said, yet the person saying it is totally oblivious. I’m so glad there is a positive result here 🙂

    • My sister is like that, pensitivity101. And I’ve found myself doing it as well. Not with children since we are always on guard around them with how we talk (human instinct), but when with another adult we have a tendency to take on a condescending tone in conversation whether we mean to or not. Drives me nuts when she does it! And I get mad at myself when I catch myself doing it, haha. Now, that we’re both aware of it though we’ll call each other out on it if we notice it and the other doesn’t and that usually helps so the proper message is provided rather than just the other person hearing negative this negative that.

  3. I just commented on the original post and am glad I noticed the link to this follow up to read as well.

    I am very proud of this woman for being able to take the remark at heart and take away a lesson from it rather than be irritated, since like you, that is probably how I would have responded to a public “bashing” (although that is not what it was, cannot think of another word at the moment).

    If you’re reading this comment BK Mom: Bravo, it takes a strong woman to put her child’s needs first even if it means realizing you have to change something about yourself to do it 🙂

  4. Glad I clicked your blog to see the follow up. You should put a link to this in your first post so people who read it on “Freshly Pressed” will get this part of the story too. Very cool!

      • Claudia

        Which is how I got here and I’m so glad I did! Bless you and bless her, both of you such thoughtful and loving mothers. I have two boys and I hope when they’re older they find girls who have been taught to look for the sort of men I know they’ll grow to be. Oh and the snuggling thing….how awesome is that?! I love it 🙂

  5. Just awesome how one person taking the time to write out how one sentence impacted them can end up changing how 2 people think & feel. As a mom of 2 boys your original post struck me, I try so hard to make sure that I am not allowing my sons to be “those boys” but rather the gentleman their father was raised to be and why I fell in love with him. I am so proud everytime someone tells me they are so sweet or something that is so small. My 16 yr old recently learned some sign language to be able to “be respectful” when greeting a girls mother. Those were his words not mine. I had no idea until another mother told me that this girls friends were all swooning over the idea that a boy could possibly do that & not in a script written by Hollywood. Initially I felt left out, he never told me- he tells me everything. Then I asked him and it dawned on me. He didn’t think it was any big deal, to him it was what he should do, the right thing, to make sure that her mom knew she was important too. He laughed when I teared up, told me I was silly and overreacting. He didn’t get it. My little boy, like yours used to be that lovey little snuggler. Now he is that sweet gentleman that thinks of others as second nature. He is that boy that one day will make some girl very happy like his father has me. Thank you for both of these posts, it makes me so proud to be a mom of a sweet boy and I know there are so many of them out there.

  6. I have two boys, and they are very different, one is a snuggler, and the other a joker, but both have always liked to play with girls in the most innocent of ways. They are very sweet with their little sister and her friends, and they love to flirt with little girls in restaurants. They help distract and entertain younger kids. Someday, I hope they will be confident and assured dads, rather than boys who have been pushed away from younger kids and told they don’t know how to interact properly with them. You’re right, even though some boys are bad, many, many others are not. They just need a chance to show it. I’m so glad you spoke out about this.

  7. Wow, it sounds like you did her a favor. Sometimes we just don’t realize how we sound or how important the things we say to our children are. I remember one time overhearing a stranger criticize me for how grouchy I was being with my boys. I was horrified. I took it to heart, and tried to change my attitude. Sometimes we just need to hear it from someone else.

  8. I had to smile, it happens from time to time, she calls you up to apologise and before you know it you’re swapping stories about the men who have done you wrong. *sigh* Are we that bad 🙂
    It just goes to show how small the world, or in this case town, truly is. One minute you’re pontificating on the web and the next reality intrudes…

  9. It’s interesting how both of you said something/wrote something not expecting the other to hear it/see it/react to it, and yet you both did. I love how this comes full circle–it definately reminds us to “watch what we say ” and that “our words can hurt even when we don’t mean them to”. It also asks us to reframe our thinking…great thoughts. Lovely blog and beautiful pictures!

  10. Sometimes, criticism when aptly applied, can be aptly handled. You handled the situation very well, explaining how your boy was not “bad” in the first part of your story and going on to explain society’s need to turn such euphemisms around. Because you did so with such calm and tact, I am not surprised it was taken well. Could it have been taken badly and blown up out of proportion? Absolutely. I am glad it didn’t though. Thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

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