The Judge’s Lesson

Years ago I took classes to obtain a degree.

Class after class after class.  But the best lessons I ever received were not lessons I was tested on or required to regurgitate back as memorized.

I took classes that had a local judge as the instructor.  She was very approachable and loved to have discussions in her class.   We covered the book work, but the best lessons were in the class discussions and in the meetings with her after class.   She loved a good argument and I remember once having her say in class “you would make a great attorney”.   Learning how to argue early with a house full of siblings obviously has it’s merits.  Or pitfalls.   Depending on how you see it.

One day in class the discussion led in to her having to make the horrible decision to have children removed from their homes, their parents, the only life they knew.   I will never forget what she said.  And I try to apply it to situations when I see parenting gone bad, or parenting never having been learned or applied.

Many students were all for taking children out of neglectful and abusive homes.  The judge let this discussion go on, with little input from her.  Letting those in the class draw their own lines in the sand, form and argue their own opinions.   At one point she did chime in.   I can’t remember word for word what she said.  But in essence her message was:

When children come in to my court room and you see their dirty little faces, their malnourished or poorly nourished bodies, their runny noses, or physical abuse-it’s still hard to take that child out of the parent’s arms.

At this point there were some grumblings along the lines of “not for me” or “they don’t deserve them”.

The judge went on to say…

Have you ever witnessed a child being taken from their mother or father’s arms?  Knowing they are being taken away from the only thing they know?  Have you seen a parent’s face?  Knowing they have no control?

Her biggest and hardest hitting statement…

I’ve seen people who can’t parent, don’t know how to parent, and people who abuse their children.  You may not understand it, but that doesn’t mean that parent doesn’t love their child.   And the child, not knowing any different, loves that parent and they have a bond.  There is nothing easy about listening to a child screaming for a parent, seeing parents cry and crumble, knowing they have failed.  And literally have a child pulled from a parent’s arms.

I have never forgotten that.  I do believe there are some people who have absolutely no right to have children, and if they have children, I believe the children should be removed and placed in safe and loving homes.   There are some situations that bad.

But the Judge was right.  And sometimes….as humans, we don’t know what we are doing.   Sad as that is.  It is.

As angry or justified as we may be regarding our opinions on matters, it doesn’t mean we can fully comprehend all of the angles, and all of the emotions.

I read a post yesterday at The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, which led me to a post that prompted this memory for me.  Her post was a repost from