Today I was shopping in Sears. It was crowded because the store went belly-up in the area and was going out of business. Everyone was swarming to find good deals and closeout prices.
As I was walking around, I heard a little boy making noises that were familiar to me…I actually had to remind myself that I didn’t have Jadon with me. I looked over to where the noises were coming from and saw a little boy maybe eight or so, humming and in obvious distress due to his surroundings…people, lights, noises. He was in the prime of a sensory overload. The older man (grandfatherish) with him was completely oblivious. He was gabbing away on his phone about a better deal on a tablesaw at another store. I followed them around, like a magnet…contemplating how I could help this little boy, hoping he would get off his phone so I could attempt to approach him and help him understand what was going on with the child in his care. Unfortunately, he continued to gab on yet another pointless call darting from one power tool to another.
At one point the little boy tugged on the man’s jacket like he wanted to try and tell him he was suffering. To my complete and utter shock the man turned around and pulled his fist back (yes in public) like he was going to hit that boy. The boy crouched to the floor and covered his head…like this has happened before. The man yelled at him to never touch him. I stood there mortified at what I was witnessing. The boy stood back up and continued to follow the man through the store, keeping his distance…covering his ears and squinting as he tried his best to deal with all the stimuli. I continued to follow them, choking back tears, until they checked out and left. I felt so helpless…and devastatingly heartbroken.
I realized again in that moment how many people are so unaware, even when the child belongs to them, what these kids are going through. They are punished for behaviors that they are powerless to stop. Behaviors that result from being in extreme discomfort and pain.
God give us the patience to handle these innocent children lovingly. Give us understanding. Give us the discernment to know when it’s time to go. And for those children that may never have guardians that understand…please protect them. Amen.