Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot
On Fridays I like to share some of the experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant in some way. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
A good reminder. On Sunday, I had to put down my beloved dog that I rescued 9 years ago. He had a neurological condition that had been progressively worsening and last Thursday when I carried him outside to go to the bathroom, instead of wanting to come back inside quickly like always, he crawled under the shade of a tree and wanted to stay outside. I felt as though this was a message directly to me telling me that it was “time.”
Ultimately, I had to make the call to put him down and it was a reminder to me of how sometimes being a leader is about making the calls you don’t want to. In this instance, I needed to consider what was best for him rather than what would be better or less challenging for myself. When people look to you as a leader, you will eventually be forced to make difficult, unpopular and/or agonizing decisions. Ultimately, leaders would rather make those decisions than trust someone else to do it for them.
How I handle grief. Saturday was the anniversary of my brother in law’s (and best friend) death last year. Then Sunday I had to put my dog down. Both events were incredibly sad and made even more so when seeing my family upset. So, what did I do to handle it?
First, I make sure to get back into a routine. After difficulties in life, we tend to drift away from our good habits. We eat poorly, stop exercising, lose touch with friends, etc. On Saturday, I did the “Murph” workout in honor of my brother-in-law and on Sunday and Monday I made sure to go for runs and exercise. Did I feel like doing this? No. However, the exertion did help alleviate a lot of stress and tension and helped me cope with everything easier. Next, I let my emotions go. I am typically not someone that cries from sadness, but I did quite a bit of it on Sunday and Monday. It’s far better to let all of that out and allow your body that release. When you are hit with a tough time, don’t be afraid to be emotional but make sure you don’t allow yourself to fall into bad patterns.
Something I loved. On Saturday, my oldest son had his first freshman football game and played all but about 10 total plays. He was doing everything except working the concession stand and was understandably exhausted after the game. One of his teammates and good friends did not get an opportunity to play much and texted him 2 hours after the game asking if he wanted to go to a field and practice.
It was 30 minutes away and my son asked if I would take him. He commented that it was probably the last thing I felt like doing but I said I would. The reason I was happy to do so was because I thought it was admirable for both boys to want to go back and get better. My son could have easily said no to his friend because he was tired and played a lot but chose not to. His friend could have sat at home and complained that he didn’t get playing time but instead decided to work on getting better. Anytime someone has the desire to work harder and improve their performance in anything, it should be encouraged.
What are your thoughts on the things being imposed on kids due to COVID? I’ve gotten this question often over the past couple of weeks. Normally, I refrain from talking about COVID in my 5 Spots because it gets too exhausting and boring but when it comes to kids, I felt it was important to comment.
My first thought is that when it comes to anything about your child’s health, I would encourage you to do your own research and know your stuff. Do not listen to the news, me, your pediatrician, neighbors, family, teachers, or anyone else as your sole source of information. Take nothing for granted and make the time to compare the narratives to the evidence, learn about contraindications, exercise common sense, and more. Second, adults should not need, want, or expect any child to protect them or their health. We have a duty to help them and should pursue only the avenues that do so.
Some quotes I love.
“First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” – Martin Niemoller
“It’s common now to mistake defending someone’s right to say things, with agreeing with those things. If you don’t support free speech for people you disagree with, you don’t support free speech.” – Ricky Gervais
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” – Virginia Woolf
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