Thursday, July 26, 2012

The sins of the uniform


The school car park in the mornings is a tense place. Parents have run the gauntlet of getting their reluctant, sometimes belligerent, offspring ready for school, battled the traffic and arrived at last. All this tension in their brains leads to dopey things as I witnessed this morning while I walked my three charming children across the car park and into school.

One of my children had a disaster just before we had to go out the door. As a result, their sports pants needed to be put in the wash. Problem: they had worn sports uniform yesterday as well so their other pair of pants were in the washing machine. Solution: younger siblings' sports pants. Okay, they are about 10 cm too short but desperate times call for desperate measures. It's only for one day. Surprisingly, neither sibling batted an eyelid about this (not even a mild huff) and we all got off to school on time with my eldest child looking a bit super-cool in 3/4 length sports pants.

So here we are crossing the car park. A large black 4WD pulls alongside us, slowly cruising at about our walking pace and waiting for her turn in the drop-off zone. The mother driving the vehicle happens to look over at our merry party and I can see her face as she scans the kids and looks intently at my child's sports pants. Then she looks across to me very unimpressed, holds my gaze for a moment, and finally whips her head to face forward again with an obvious display of disgust.

Over a pair of too-short sports pants! I laughed out loud. She must be having a very stressful day because why on earth would anyone else care?

Truth is, I've done dumb things like that myself often enough. Maybe I haven't taken the opportunity to share my disgust with the child's mother as this lady did this morning, but I've certainly made plenty of snap judgements about other people's children and their parents. Shame on me. Next time I'm tempted I'm going to try to remember how ridiculous it makes one look to get high and mighty over trifles. As my friend in PNG reminded me a couple of weeks ago: think the best of people.

1 comment:

CardsAsGifts said...

I wonder what the lady would have thought if you had sent your child in casual clothes instead??!!