She once called the cops on a fellow parent. Here's why she wishes she hadn't.

Years ago, Megan Burnside saw a mother physically struggling with her son. The boy was screaming ... so she called the cops.

The mother, it seemed, was trying to get her 10-year-old son back in the car, and it looked like things were getting physical. Concerned for the kid, Burnside decided to call the police. Then she and her husband left.

When the police called her later to update her on the situation, she was horrified: The boy had autism, they told her, and was known to sometimes lash out physically. The mother was just doing her best to calm him down, as she had many times before.


Sadly, stories like this aren't rare. Well-meaning strangers are frequently quick to intervene by calling authorities, which can cause undue stress and trauma for both the child and parent when that person has read the situation wrong. It can even be extraordinarily dangerous for people with disabilities and families of color.

When she realized the situation hadn't been at all what it had seemed, Burnside was racked with guilt. In fact, she still is.

When a similar thing happened to a friend of hers, Burnside decided to share her shameful story on Facebook — and explain how she'd do it all over differently, given the chance.

"This has come up for me today because someone called DCFS (Department of Child and Family Services) on my dear friend," she wrote.

I have something weighing on my heart this morning. A few years ago I was in Tennessee with my husband at a training...

Posted by Megan Orr Burnside on Thursday, December 7, 2017

Burnside's friend, whom she called "the kind of mother I want to be like," was bedridden with a respiratory infection, when a person who probably thought they were "helping" called the authorities.

"I don't know what this person observed that they thought was a problem," she wrote. "Maybe her kids were running around without parental supervision? Maybe a parent wasn't feeding them so they were foraging for themselves?"

But there's a better way of doing things, Burnside says: actually offering to assist the struggling parent.

"I am sad that the person who called her in didn't ask how they could HELP HER," she wrote.

The post went viral and touched thousands and thousands of people who agree with her message.

Concern for the well-being of others is a good thing. But concern without empathy hurts everyone.

She wants to encourage people to reach out and help each other whenever possible, and not to assume the worst of our fellow parents and human beings.

"I really believe that the root of all judgement comes from self-judgement," she says in a Facebook message, noting that she developed more compassion for others by learning to have more compassion for herself and stop worrying about "messing up parenting."

"I think people want to live in a world where we help more and judge less, and all it takes is compassion," she says. "A lot of people have shared how this post will change the way they respond to struggling moms in the future, and I am really encouraged by that."

To be sure, at some point, you may actually witness abuse or neglect, and in those situations it's smart to get the right authorities involved. Burnside just wants to encourage all of us to think — and feel — before we act.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.