Friday, April 09, 2010

In The Name of The Mother

It chilled me.

To the bone.

I was meeting with two loving parents of someone who is having difficulty. I know that consultations are hard on parents, telling a story, often a private story to a complete stranger in hopes that somewhere there is an approach, an idea that will lead to a better life for their child must be a painful process. I am never more profoundly aware of how important the work than when seeing fear and hope in the eyes of a mom or dad.

But today, as we began, a very dignified woman turned to me. In a quiet voice she began. 'My son has received a consultation before and he was damaged by it. I need you to promise me that you will not hurt my son.'

And there it was.

Promise me that you will not hurt my son.

Promise me that you will take care with our trust.

Promise me that you will not misuse your power.

Promise me that you will think with both mind and heart.

I stumbled over my words as I made the promise. I would do everything I can in the time that I have to help the team figure out ways to better support, better teach, better care for their son. I promised I would take care, and I did.

This is advocacy at the highest level. To remind a professional that 'this is my son' to remind an advice giver 'some advice hurts, be thoughtful before you speak,' to remind one human being to be careful while muddling in the life of another. Her son carries her love, I hurt him, I hurt her.

I am always, I think careful, in what I do.

But I admit, for every recommendation I made - I gave sober second thought.

Because, and only because, I promised.


eiramyllek73 said...


Kate said...

Good post. I love your ability for description. Thanks for your comment on my post. It truly made my night. You are my hero in many ways and my role model and I am trying to think of my daily experiences in the way you do; see the power invested in ordinary moments, the symbolism. Life has so much meaning in it if we take the time to listen. Meaning we can use to inform the rest of our life and others' lives.

I hope to see you back on my blog sometime; I would be honored to have you as a regular visitor. :)


Jen said...

That's a smart mother. I still always have an assumption that the professionals that we deal with want the best for my children (which has mainly been well-founded...we've been lucky). But stating it directly can't do anything but focus the attention on the person that it matters most to.

The families that you deal with are lucky to have you.

AkMom said...

Thank you for who you are, Dave.

Kristin said...

A very wise mother and a smart man who listened to her.