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A woman’s life is not easy, multiple roles and multiple expectations. What makes it even more difficult for them is the fact that our society is still patriarchal. Something that seems to be okay to society if a man does it becomes an issue if a woman does the same. And I believe it is high time we stop judging women.
At the same time, I feel that it is not just the women who get judged. I, for once, am guilty of judging people around me. Here I would like to share a few of those incidents.
From the Other Side of the Road: As I go to pick up my daughter from day care every day I notice a banana seller with his cart and another man who sells some household stuff on a cart. The second man is always seen standing at the banana seller’s cart, either talking to him or his customers, at least that is what it looked from the other side of the road.
‘This man is just not sincere’, a random thought came to my mind until tomorrow when I had to buy some bananas. I went there and asked for six bananas. That man was still there abandoning his own cart. I chose to ignore him. As soon as I said six, this man started taking out six bananas, it was then that I noticed that the banana seller was handicapped; he could use only one hand. I felt guilty… The second man was not just helping the banana seller, he was so casual that not even at any point he seemed to be too proud of it. They were just friends… helping each other. I guess life is like this, we judge others standing on the other side of the road and the truth comes out when we finally reach out to them, on their side.
A Child With ADHD and I (His Teacher) I judged not just my student but his mother as well: You know what is worse than not being understood by our parents, it is not being understood by our teachers, who have the responsibility to shape our mind and lives. I was always too proud of the fact that I am an expert at maintaining top notch discipline in class and at the same time being loved by my students. This one student, however, shook my confidence, he would not listen o me, he would run everywhere and even scratched my arm once.
Initially I tried a lot to make him comfortable but he did not care at all. Quite naturally, I was irritated with him, honestly I did not like him at all. I judged him, ‘Huh! Must be a rich spoiled brat.’ Numerous notes in his diary and his mother always assured me that she would talk to him and he would not do it again. But nothing changed and then again I judged his mother, ‘Why does she even lie when she really does not care about him? She has to be little strict with her child, she is spoiling him.’ I wasn’t a mother that time so I literally failed to understand that woman’s emotions.
Once I was busy teaching when Nifel got up and started roaming around and I had just put my hand gently on his shoulder. It was so disturbing for me that I had tears in my eyes. I went to the Elementary school Principal’s room and told her that I can’t take it anymore. This was the time she disclosed that Nifel had ADHD. I was taken aback. I knew what ADHD was but wasn’t really that informed. ‘Why wasn’t I told earlier?’ I asked the Principal, and she replied, ‘Nifel’s mother want teachers to be natural with him and not sympathetic and we respected her emotions.’
So, I googled, I read all night about it. I don’t even remember when and how but I was crying. That little boy was having a very hard time. It wasn’t under his control. I felt sorry for writing all those notes to his mother complaining about his conduct. Finally, I read what I can do as a teacher to help Nifel.
I started being even more patient to him, started appreciating him for even slight improvement. It wasn’t easy in the beginning because his hyperactivity was not under his control sometimes. He was under medication. But this surely helped. He was always interested to do something in class because he liked being appreciated. I tried involving him as much as possible. We used to have Talent Hunt in class, he would dance and sing and even acted as a radio jockey.
Mine was a small relation but his mother is one strong woman. If it was that difficult for me to handle him for an hour, how his mother would be doing 24×7. Yet, she was always smiling, never ever gave ADHD as an excuse for his actions. Whatever I tried to help Nifel was a silent apology to him, to his mother, a silent apology to tell them that I was sorry, I was sorry for judging a child, I was sorry for judging a mother, I was sorry for being strict with him when he was already struggling.
Today, Nifel is a hero, he plays soccer, he likes science and he is improving. I wish the best for him and for every child.
Women do get judged, the way I judged Nifel’s mother and worse is when we as women start judging each other. After becoming a mother, I have learnt not to judge anyone come what may. I try my best to think from other person’s position. Sometimes, I still make mistakes. I am thankful to mycity4kids for taking this amazing and much needed initiative. It’s high time we #StopJudging and start understanding if we want to raise our kids in a healthy society. It’s high time we #StopJudging men and women, students and teachers, married or bachelor, rich or poor.