Time and time again throughout our lives we learn that we truly never know what a person’s been through just at first glance. When we are children we are taught simply not to judge a book by its cover because you don’t know what the story inside entails. As we grow older we learn this is true with the people who surround us since we never truly know the obstacles they’ve overcome and the victories they’ve achieved until we are told. Sometimes we have to learn this lesson the hard way when we let our judgments speak first.
Real-life is never as it seems at first glance.
For parents taking care of a sick child that you can’t tell at first glance, sometimes they have to take time to teach that lesson to strangers who pass judgments before knowing the full story. Which if you are a parent this can be an extremely difficult task which requires a lot of patience and compassion. For one dad, Brent Gehring, in Papillon Nebraska while he was out with his 6-year-old daughter he had to take a moment to decide whether he was going to teach a lesson or pick a fight when a stranger made a rude comment to him and his daughter.
Brent’s daughter, Emma, was diagnosed with a form of childhood brain cancer called pilomyxoid astrocytoma when she was just seven months old. Due to this condition, it is hard for Emma to get around without her walker so her father, friends, and family have to carry her from time to time. When Brent and his family were out to dinner one night in Boston and he was carrying Emma across the street a man decided to yell out to them his disgust at what he was seeing. How the interaction went next was enough for Brent to post about it on Facebook which then went viral.
He recalls the moment the stranger yelled to him,
“My daughter and I were leaving dinner the other night at Union Oyster House in Boston, MA. A dinner donated to us by an amazing business and friend that has been in our “family” for years. When I crossed the street carrying her, she can’t walk without the use of her walker. A man yelled at me from 30’ away: “What the F*+k?” He yelled. “Make her walk. That’s what is wrong with kids today.”
Time to decide: scream at him or teach him a lesson?
As Brent has already been through enough taking care of his sweet little girl the last thing he needs as a parent is to be yelled out for simply carrying his child. Let alone the fact that Emma has been fighting a brain tumor receiving her seventh round of chemotherapy. So now Brent had to make a choice of how to handle the situation before him. He continues his post on Facebook recalling his decision,
“I had a choice to make at that time. Can I make myself feel better by screaming at him or can I teach him something about life? I won’t lie to you and tell you that it was an easy choice but I got inches from his face, with my daughter in my arms, and quietly asked him if he was referring to my daughter. “Hell yes,” he said.”
So Brent took a deep breath and decided to take this moment to share the story of his daughter as he held her in his arms.
“I responded with “My daughter has been carrying my faith and my strength for the past 5 years since she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She can’t walk but I am happy to carry her because of all the amazing things she has taught me through the years. So I would advise you not to address my daughter in any way other than respectful.”
Lessons of real-life and real love.
He finishes his post letting all those who read that the story didn’t just end there. The two men decided to sit down and have a conversation about real life and learning the lesson of not passing judgments onto others when we don’t know their full story.
“I won’t tell you the rest of the story but it ended with two grown men with tears rolling down their faces. One that needed to have his eyes opened to what real life and real love is and one that is always needing a reminder that good can come from any situation. This story is only important if it serves as a reminder that you don’t always know the whole story so don’t judge others.”
By Brent sharing this story with the world and taking a moment to show patience and compassion to one another even when it’s not shown to us it is another reminder, this is how we can help each other become better. This one moment teaching us so many lessons within itself although we cannot imagine how hard it was for Brent we are grateful he chose to share it with the world. Brent finishes his post with some more wise words for us to sit with,
“You have the power to make people’s days better or worse. What did you do today?? What will you do tomorrow??”
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