Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Not the Message; It's the Delivery

Dylan was around 10 months or so. He had a stuffy, runny, nasty nose. Let me be clear that he did not have a fever. It was a sinus infection, but I had no experience with sinus infections, and I was a young and clueless mom. I was not one of those moms who took their kids to the doctor with each little sniffle. I was more the mom who believed that antibiotics are overused and that a little bit of sickness built up kids' immunities (still am that mom). On this particular day, I went to Ladies' Bible Class (not at my church) and left Dylan in the nursery. When I came back, the director of the child care area was holding Dylan outside of the classroom. I will never forget what happened next. She admonished this clueless mom for bringing such an obviously sick little boy. She let me know how irresponsible I was for not obtaining medical care for him, because he obviously had a sinus infection. Well, it was not obvious to this inexperienced mom. I cried and left that encounter feeling like the worst mom ever. I took him to the doctor, antibiotics were administered, and all was well on that front. I can say that I never felt comfortable around that woman again. I always felt that she believed that I was a bad mom. It was 10 years ago, but it is something that I have never forgotten. Thinking about it now, I feel like a neglectful mom all over again. Let me be clear, I needed the message, but it would have been so much nicer if it had gone something like this, "Jenna, what a sweet little boy you have. His nose seems to be really stopped up. My son's nose looked like this once and it ended up being a sinus infection. I was so glad that I took him to the doctor." The end result would have been the same, but I would not have felt like a neglectful, terrible mother, and I would not have felt uncomfortable around that woman in the future. That experience was not fun, but I did learn an important lesson. It's not the message; it's the delivery. I try to remember that when I need to get an important point across to my kids or to a client. Oh, and if my kid has a stuffy nose for a while, then I take them to the doctor.


Jennifer said...

So true! I think I say this to my kids Every. Single. Day. (And I think you're a fantastic mom!) Thanks for the reminder that it's not what you say, it's how you say it.

Shawna said...

You are sooo right-on! You are a wonderful mother! Thanks for sharing.

Andrea said...

I want to go give this mean old woman a piece of my mind. How dare she insult my mentor and a woman after God's heart? Thank you for this post, Jenna. I know I have been a poor deliverer of news once or twice in my life, and this is a great reminder for me.