Treating the Thermometer

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

I was hoping the pediatrician would give me good news. I had one feverish kid with me and I just wanted an easy answer. 
Like most doctors, he proceeded to tell me his theory on treating fevers. He gave me some perspective on the fever issues moms often bring.  That's when he pointed to my kid and said, 
"We don't treat the thermometer, we treat the child." 

"Well," I said, "that makes total sense." After all, I have had treated the thermometer before. My excuse? School and childcare rules. If they need to be fever-free for 24 hours, I found the easiest target (the thermometer) and I treated it. I've used all the tricks until the thermometer gave me a good number. That's acceptable behavior, right? Not so much.

The older my kids get, the less "treating the thermometer" makes sense to me. Oh, don't worry, I didn't send a sick kid to the world today. 

I must confess that I "treat the thermometer" in other areas of life my friends. 

Take my weight loss saga for example. In the very beginning, I used to "treat" my scale. I became so obsessed with those three blinking numbers that I put myself on a full on scale detox where I realized that focusing on daily habits is the way to reach my goals. Do you see how I was treating the thermometer and not the individual?

Guiding my kids through school has been challenging at times. I have the tendency to "treat the thermometer" and not the child in that area. Last week, in the midst of doubt, I took a courageous step back and I decided to let God give me peace about a different approach to education. (No, I'm not homeschooling my kids and no, I don't hate the public school system. We've been really blessed where we are and we are incredibly thankful for the professionals who go above and beyond to educate our kids.)
I treat the thermometer when I don't consider my child's individuality. I treat the child when I trust God to give me wisdom for every challenge we may encounter in the education journey.

The pediatrician's words were simple but impactful. I am thankful we did get an easy answer for my kid's fever (it's just a virus, it will run its course).
The challenging answer comes from discerning in which areas of my life I am still "treating the thermometer."