• crivers

Starting Again

I love being a community pediatrician for many reasons. One is that it feels like I am famous nearly everywhere I go. In the office, I am a normal doctor, doing normal doctor things. But at the farmer's market I become a superhero because I exist outside of the office, an amazement children don't always understand. I think teachers experience the same phenomenon. Children are concrete thinkers so when something seems out of place, it either leads to a meltdown or becomes a little big magical. I have missed interacting in this way with the kids of my community over the past pandemic year.

The pandemic has worn on people in many ways. Incredible innovations have come from this year of being forced to do life differently but pretty much everybody I meet is tired. Tired of taking kids to daycare and then having them home for ten days every few weeks. Tired of "working" from home while also "teaching" their children and trying to keep up the house. Tired of so many people in the country fighting with them politically about whether they should or should not wear a mask; should or should not vaccinate. Tired of making these sorts of decisions. We are tired. I am tired.

So I stopped this blog. When God first called me to write it, the pandemic was new. I had energy and inspiration to support people through parenting despite the trials. It was fun. But as the months dragged on and the blog didn't take off with more subscribers, it got a little less fun. When people didn't write in with questions, my inspiration started to dry up. Being tired and uninspired does not lead to great writing. Mediocre writing is also not inspiring to the writer. Blah, blah, blah.

God has not left me alone about this blog. I keep hearing whispers of ideas from Him as He urges me to do this. Over the past week or two, God's voice has become more loud. First, I got an email from the website telling me I had 20 visitors over the past month. This is hardly any, in the scheme of successful blogs. But it means people can find me if they are looking. It means God can guide people to me and me to them. If God wants to, He is in position to use me. Then, I had a patient who is not usually my patient, but one of my partner's. The child's mom asked when I would post something again on my blog. This woman is not a subscriber to my site, since the only subscribers are people I know and I did not yet know her. She asked me to write more because she is out of reading material. Finally, I got an email through the website from a pediatrician in Canada, asking for ideas on how to use faith in practice. Three announcements from God that this blog can reach people, does reach people, and does it in ways I never expected. Gulp.

So here I am again. Trying. Still tired. Still marginally inspired. But trying hard to follow God and slosh my way through the muck of Covid.

How does this apply to you? Well, I imagine you are tired as well and feeling less than inspired. It is easy to fall into the same ruts over and over. I see this in parents who don't believe they have any power to change things. Since they are picky eaters, their children will be picky eaters. Since they are obese, or have allowed one child to be obese it is impossible to protect future children from obesity. There is a lot of truth to this. If we go it alone, doing life for our children the same way we have done life for ourselves, they will absorb at least some of our bad habits. But this is also a lie that doesn't allow for the truth of redemption. We can do better because we do not walk alone through this adventure of parenthood. We have each other and we have Jesus.

If you are a picky eater, you know the challenges of going to somebody's house and not wanting to eat any of the food offered. So you continue to give your picky toddler options that include foods you would never eat. You pretend to eat them, just so they see you loving something and then they want to copy you because they think you are the greatest in the world. Maybe they don't copy you today but on the 50th attempt, they just might eat those Brussels sprouts. And if you are obese, you know the potential health risks associated with this, know how hard it is to lose weight, and certainly don't want those things for your children. So you offer healthy food options, take them to the park so they can run around and play, read books and build forts as rewards rather than always offering dessert. If your first child is obese, you have the opportunity to reflect on what could be done differently or better for the next child. Our decisions today don't have to be our decisions for tomorrow.

Major changes like these are extremely hard to make because they interrupt patterns. It is easier for me to come home and read a book or play a board game than to sit down and write a new blog post. Just like it is easier to give your screaming child more goldfish than to insist on blueberries or carrots. In these moments, I encourage you stop doing things alone. Call your friend whose kids eat everything. Not the one who will judge you and tell you none of this would have happened if you hadn't started with goldfish in the first place. Call the friend who calls you when her child doesn't sleep at night and wants advice because your kids are the best sleepers. And when she calls you, be the friend of encouragement rather than judgement. Be a little bit of Jesus to each other. If you don't have a friend like that, or even if you do, pray. We do not parent alone. We do not write blog posts alone. Listen to the whispers of God and try again.

If you do read this and enjoy it or hate it, I would find it very encouraging to hear from you. Please subscribe. I do not write these very often. My goal now is going to be once a month. Therefore, your inbox will not be inundated with daily spam. If you disagree, have follow up questions, want to give me a compliment, those are welcome by sending me a message. And if you don't want to do any of that, that's ok too. Thanks for reading this far and allowing me the privilege of being part of your day. I hope it is a good one.

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