In our 3rd class on Tuesday they did an exercise with us… a social experiment, if you will. We were randomly given the letter A or B to stand for Andrew or Belinda as the children in the story. We were given the back story for each baby – born the same hour of the same day in the same hospital – then told of their progressions into toddlerhood and beyond.
The “A” babies were born to a young couple that anxiously awaited a baby, full of love, support and just overall a great environment. They supported him, guided him, fed, clothed and bathed him, etc. He was obviously quite loved and hit all the milestones. When he would cry, they would pick him up to take care of his needs. His extended family and family friends loved and cherished him and would often babysit. He crawled around the yard exploring only to be picked up or redirected before he would potentially get hurt.
The “B” babies were also born to a young couple, but they weren’t expecting him and couldn’t really provide for her. The parents started drinking a lot and smoking pot and not really taking care of themselves or baby B. she was often ignored when she cried for food, a dirty diaper or just to be comforted. She eventually learned that by not crying she wouldn’t get smacked around. One day she wandered out into the street and a neighbor picked her up and called the police. Another day her high father yanked her by the arm and dislocated her shoulder.
Baby B was eventually taken into the system where she was fostered and later adopted by friends of Baby A’s parents. These foster parents only ever knew of happy, content, hitting all the milestones babies and were unprepared for the difficulties of an abused and not fully developed child. They struggled but eventually learned how to deal with her past and they all overcame it.
The social experiment part came in that every time our teacher would switch between A and B’s stories, we were to hold up the placard with our letter on it. The A’s kept doing that throughout. Somewhere around the “B was frequently left alone in her crib for hours at a time,” the B’s stopped holding up their placards.
Steve was A and I was B. We both kept holding ours up. Afterwards, he said he wanted to grab the B from the lady next to him and hold it up bc it wasn’t the baby’s fault that her parents suck and we should be helping her not feeling sorry for or ignoring her as well.
I wonder how often people see someone in a terrible situation and look the other way. Personally, every time I see a panhandler begging for money on the street, I want to drive to the easily 50 businesses within walking distance, collect job applications and hand it to them.. But instead I drive away.
Maybe learning about everything we’re learning in these classes will make me more compassionate towards the homeless. I mean, not the ones that have better clothes and look cleaner than me, of course. Bc there are plenty of those around here too.