Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A trick for boo-boos, both big and small

My daughter is 2 years old (see the above picture) and appears to have inherited my (lack of) coordination. In the summer, her legs are scuffed up messes, and we’ve yet to make it through a day without a bonked head or stubbed toe.

As a parent, there are few things more frustrating than when your child hurts and you can’t do a thing about it. Short of padding McKenna with bubble wrap, I can’t prevent every scrape and bruise.

But we’ve recently discovered a trick with McKenna that drastically shortens how long she frets over her new boo-boo. Here’s what it looks like in action:

We tailgated at a baseball game last week, a situation that sends you on high alert when you’ve got a toddler. Not only are you hanging out in a parking lot where plenty of cars are cruising by, but you’ve got a tiny-but-still-very-hot grill, and (if you’re with my brother-in-law) a washers game going. While I was busy making sure McKenna didn’t touch the grill that looked like a toy or get conked in the head with a metal disc, she climbed onto one of the rickety lawn chairs and the whole thing toppled over.

She was more scared than hurt, and after about 30 seconds of holding her while she cried and making sure she wasn’t bleeding anywhere, I said to her, “McKenna, should we check on the chair and make sure it’s okay too?”

The tears instantly vanished as McKenna went over to the chair, patted it, and declared it “okay too.” Then she scampered off to the bag of chips.

It occurred to me as I watched her that there’s tremendous healing power in turning our thoughts outward. When I’m feeling down or discouraged, one of the quickest ways to snap myself out of it is by finding someone else to serve. Or praying for someone else who’s in a similar situation. I see it demonstrated in McKenna daily—caring for others is far more satisfying, productive, and healing than obsessing over my own hurts and insecurities.

Have you found this to be true as well?

Stephanie Morrill


Makay said...

what an awesome message! :) thanks for sharing. and yes it is soooo true.

God let our hearts turn out word and "Set the world of fire" with your love, "until it is burning bright for you. It is everything that I desire."


L. E. Neighbour said...

Excellent observations! I find that to be very true. The more you think about your problems, the bigger they seem and the more depressing. But if I listen to my friends' problems and pray for them, my problems seem so small and insignificant :)

Jenni Pedersen said...

I love your style of writing, so lively.
Crucial lessons can be found in everyday encounters, like a simple tip on how to get out of self-pity from your daughters scratch. My dad told me, 99% of our problems are caused by us. Self pity is one of those major self inflicted pains I dabble in.
Last semester before I started leading a bible study I was struggling with roommates, depression, and overwhelmed by school.
Leading a bible study snapped me out of my depression. I started meeting with freshmen girls to help them with their spiritual walks. I prayed vigorously for them and found scripture for them rather than myself. I wasn't sad anymore, and those problems that seemed so dooming were yesterday's news.
Outward focus is true joy.
I also find that focusing on others is more satisfying in conversations and interactions with friends. When I go to lunch with a friend and vent the whole time, I walk away unfulfilled and unconnected. I think "Darn, I talked so much, I didn't mean to do that. I didn't love them well, or listen at all. I don't know anything about what is happening in that person's life, and they know all my junk. I hope they don't think I am weird and selfish for talking so much."
The lunches that I listen are the times I learn the most and love the best.
There obviously needs to be a balance between filling ourselves up and focusing on others. Sometimes we need a cry, and a vent. But i would agree with your statement that caring for others is far more satisfying, productive, and healing than obsessing over my own hurts and insecurities.

Thanks for the encouragement!
Jenni Pederesen

Stephanie Morrill said...

Jenni, I also tend to dabble in self pity. I love your story about how leading a Bible study snapped you out of your depression. So often in those times, I think, "I'm in no place to lead others. What I need is to sit in on a Bible study and be taught." How wonderful that God used it to bless your life as well as those girls'!

Emii said...

Aww, she's so cute! And yes, I found that out the other day, too -- serving others actually makes you feel like you've accomplished something, as well -- instead of just having something to show for YOURSELF. And people decide you're a nice person, instead of a self-absorved one who only does what they want. I really need to serve people more...