How Covering Bare Feet Changed My Perception of Life
Never think you know enough about a person or what they may be going through in life. A covering, or looks for the most part can be deceiving and yet awareness rarely is. Case in point, I had the most heartbreaking “light bulb” moment one day at work. It involved two new enrollees (sisters) at the Center. They were very sweet kids and I enjoyed them being there.
We’re practically like family at the Center and all the kids feel they’re at home—literally! So I allow them to get comfortable and take their shoes off as long as they have on socks. Everyone knows this rule, even the two newest ones. But occasionally I’d have to remind the youngest sister that she couldn’t walk on the floor with bare feet. I’d always explain the reasons why and remind her to bring or wear socks when she comes to the Center. She would always agree, put her shoes back on and
get right back to playing. One day while preparing for an event, one of my kids told me the younger sister was bare foot again. I was flustered to say the least and wondered if she were testing me, or if she had genuinely forgotten. Once again I called her into the office and explained the rules.
Then I remembered she’s just a kid who doesn’t want to miss out on any fun activities. So I suggested she go home, grab a pair of socks and come right back. In that way, she could participate in the Twister game the younger ones were playing.
What I’d suggested seemed like an easy fix to me. But she was hesitant in responding. Finally she told me she couldn’t go home by herself. I then suggested she have her big sister go with her. Again, she didn’t respond right away, but eventually I was told the reason she didn’t want to go home. In the most solemn voice she said, “We don’t have any socks.”
Her statement was nowhere near what I’d expected her to say. I was almost in shock with disbelief. But at the same time I was inundated by all the light bulb moments flashing in my head. Each prior incident concerning the younger sister and socks was seen in an entirely different light. She tried to cover up that she was missing a covering. There was a lot going on inside of my head at the time. But I remained calm and refrained from scooping her up and hugging her to death! She was such a young child and didn’t have a clue as to what I’d become aware of. All she wanted to do was play.
I called the older sister into my office so we could talk and she verified the sock issue and a bit more. Neither girls had socks, nor some other things. To help them from feel less uncomfortable, I decided to get them socks. I got both their shoe sizes and told the older sister I would bring them pairs of socks the next day. The remainder of the day went fine, the kids had a blast and so did I. But the little one’s statement, “We don’t have any socks,” and all that her statement implied, kept resurfacing in my mind.
When I said earlier that I was shocked to hear they had no socks, it was because they well kept. They were not fashionistas. But as most school aged kids, their clothing looked worn because they wear certain items every week. However, their’s were never dirty, torn or unraveling. Both girls were always clean and appropriately dressed. They were very polite and happy looking little girls who appeared to have no troubling issues at all. Looks are most definitely deceiving sometimes.
I’m sharing this day with you as a reminder that we don’t always know what a person is going through. So, be a little kinder, more patient, more loving and empathetic. Don’t rush to judge, condemn or size up a person. They may be going about their lives as best as they can, and doing so without the covering of socks. Seeing the outer and not the inner, usually conceals how the absence of a covering impacts a person’s state of well-being. So, if at all possible be the one with an extra pair of socks on hand! ♥~Yvonne L. Jones