May 21, 2016

The Test

This is a test.  Well, more of a pop-quiz, really, since you did not have time to prepare.  And even if you had known ahead of time, there really are no books that you could have reviewed.  No CliffsNotes to scan or study groups to attend or websites to research. 

So just jump right in and do the best you can.   Read the scenario carefully, and choose the best answer for each question.  When you are ready, or even if you aren’t, you may begin.

Imagine that your seven-year old son has been diagnosed with a life-threatening or terminal illness.  He has suffered from this condition since he was a baby, but somehow you thought he would have improved by now.  You assumed that with the appropriate medical treatment, and with the sheer power of your parental love, he would overcome his disease and thrive.  He would live happily ever after.

And yet in spite of the finest, most advanced medical technologies and the latest pharmaceuticals available, he continues to struggle.  He doesn’t improve.  He perpetually doesn’t feel well, is in almost constant pain.  You aren’t quite sure if this is from the illness itself or from the side effects of his ever-increasing stockpile of medication that he is required to take.  Side effects like insomnia, fatigue, irritability, insatiable hunger, unpredictable outbursts of rage, extreme mood swings.

It’s one thing to care for a medically-fragile baby; quite another thing altogether to parent/discipline/raise a child with chronic ongoing needs.

How do you find the balance between responsible, prudent parent and compassionate, merciful care-giver?  Between strict rules and occasional grace? 

How do you parent a child who suffers?

May 14, 2016

Love Works

I’m seven, he offers, before the question is even asked. He looks the receptionist right in the eye and instantly attracts her full attention.

His personality can only be described as BIG!  He walks into a church or a building or a doctor’s office or a store or a friend’s house or the neighborhood playground, and the atmosphere instantly becomes alive.  Children and adults alike can’t help but be drawn to his bright smile, his expansive nature, and his quick wit.  The word “shy” is simply not a part of his vocabulary. 

His charisma is partly a God-given gift, an instinctual interest in people and the ability to engage them.   And it is partly the result of his early childhood experiences, when he learned that “survival of the fittest” means being the most charming kid in the room in order to get the attention and care that he needs.  Regardless of how he acquired this congenial temperament, it is impossible not to adore him within minutes of meeting him.  Every person he meets, he believes, has the potential to become his next best friend.