Just two days ago it was RUOK day which is a movement to advocate for community support for those suffering from mental health conditions in a bid to save the lives of those most vulnerable to suicide.
Mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety affect a large proportion of our society and as we know it is becoming more and more prevalent the preteen/tween and teen years. Often these conditions for young people correlate with isolation and bullying and can lead to the unthinkable.
Nobody should ever feel like nobody cares.
Nobody should ever feel worthless.
As a society we have so much to answer for but as individuals we have the capacity to either help or be a hindrance.
Yesterday while I was in the line I witnessed a mother at the shops who was with her preschooler son. The boy was fixated on the automatic doors at the store entrance and was not complying with his mother’s instructions to come in the store with her.
The mother was patiently and calmly coercing him. He was non responsive and continued to remain in the doorway watching the doors open and close. The boy’s lack of communication and overall behaviour resembled the fixation and repetitive behaviours that are consistent with Autism.
Meanwhile a woman entered the store and manoeuvred around him to get in. She smiled at the mother and chuckled endearingly at the all too familiar scenario of a non-compliant toddler.
The mother continued to beg and plead for her son to come and was clearly exhausted and upset as his fixation intensified and he continued not to respond.
The next woman that walked in, instead of manoeuvring around the boy, she deliberately walked into him and shouted at the mother “control your child”.
She shouted at a mother who was clearly in distress. She walked into a child who would have been no more than three. She implied that this mother was incompetent and that her child was bad which I just cannot understand.
If the adults of our world can’t be kind, what hope do our children, preteens and teens have? Kindness, as so eloquently stated by Charles Glassman “begins with the understanding that we all struggle”. To truly be kind we need empathy for our fellow humans and connect to our own bad days, our own challenges and weaknesses. And we so desperately need to stop posting memes about it and start actioning it, because if we can’t do that, this woman and many others may not survive.
All talk and no action is useless, and statistically we are all vulnerable. So like our acrobat duo sweatshirt dress, pull people up and hold their hand and don’t reserve “R U OK” for the second Thursday of every September because then it becomes a buzzword.
Sprinkle kindness like it is confetti and save a life ❤️