On my way into the hospital from the parking lot this morning I passed a couple and their daughter who had paused outside the door for a cigarette (right next to the "no smoking" sign). They followed me through the doors and the daughter asked, "can we take the stairs?" The dad said, "No! Are you crazy?" and they waited for the elevator.
I chuckled a bit.
But then I went to this morning's Grand Rounds and learned about mental development in children. The speaker gave examples to support his view of relationships and the social environment in early brain development. He talked about tiny children throwing chairs at preschool teachers, depressed toddlers, and how 21% of small children met the criteria for a psychiatric disorder in one large study. It was amazing and heart-breaking.
This morning has reminded me of the importance of being a parent. I can work as an activist to support good child-friendly policy, and I can work as a doctor to heal wounds and help kids develop, but I can never do so much good as when I hold my son tight and let him know that I love him and always will. I'm his daddy. Nobody else can be, not the church, not the government, not the doctor, and not the school.