I wonder why people are often so quick to judge what they don't understand.
Maybe they believe in that moment they do understand, but more often than not, they do not, and they hastily judge without enough knowledge or facts to support their conclusion.
And even if they did have the knowledge and the facts, why judge anyway.
Maybe I shouldn't be quick to judge about those who do judge, because over the years I have been guilty of judging myself. I've tried hard not to judge, and the birth of my son helped me with that immensely.
Samuel Benoit Bartlett was a medical oddity from the beginning, as his heart beat far too quickly in the womb and didn't squeeze with close to enough strength as it needed. He was studied in the womb and born in Boston, cared for at Boston Children's Hospital for a bit, where at 10-months-old he underwent open-heart surgery.
It was the medical professionals at Boston Children's Hospital who discovered Samuel had 1 p36 Deletion Syndrome.
The congenital genetic disorder is characterized by moderate to severe intellectual disability, delayed growth, hypotonia, seizures, limited speech ability, malformations, and hearing and vision impairment. The condition is caused by a genetic deletion on the outermost band on the short arm of chromosome 1.
Samuel is now 5 and attends kindergarten at Champlain Valley Educational Services.
And it never fails that, out in public, someone passes judgement on myself, Samuel or both.
I was in McDonalds once and an elderly couple spoke very loudly about how he was too old to be using a cup with a nipple. Samuel is not developmentally 5, in fact, in many areas he is not yet a year old.
On more than one occasion at the mall or Walmart, someone wondered aloud why I don't let him walk on his own. Samuel cannot walk yet, and may never walk without assistance. He doesn't even crawl, though he is rather cute when he scoots on his but across the room.
People have also made comments about his lack of speech, equating it to neglect by me. Samuel may never utter more than a few words, relying on his own form of crude sign language to communicate.
I'm not the only person who has experienced such judgement. It happens all the time. People come across something they don't understand and instead of accepting they just might not understand everything, they pass judgement.
These judgements not only cause pain, but given the reality of the situation, they are often obnoxious.
So maybe next time you see something you don't quite understand and which possibly even rubs you the wrong way, hold back on the judgement and instead extend the benefit of the doubt that it is not as it seems and you simply, do not understand.
Stephen Bartlett is editor of the North Countryman and The Burgh. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.