The Little Girl Who Cried (Almost)

If you didn’t know, I’ve been administering flu shots at work.  Today, I gave a shots like any other day, but one shot stood out to me.  There was a gentleman who came in with his wife and 4 year-old daughter (background: he was there getting his flu shot because his employer was paying for him to get it from us).

I walk out of the pharmacy and smile, wearing my standard white smock.  When the little girl saw me she looked up at her daddy and asked sincerely “Daddy, are you okay?” He responded and said “yes, honey, I’m just fine.”.  We walked around the corner to our clinic room that we used for privacy.  He sat in one chair, I sat in the other, and his wife and daughter stood off to the side.  Again, the little girl asked “Daddy, are you okay?” and again he answered “yes, honey, I’m just fine.”  He rolled up his sleeve, I cleaned off his shoulder with an alcohol swab, put on my gloves, and uncapped the syringed.  For a third time, the little girl asked “Daddy, are you okay?” this time, her eyes were welled up with tears, and this time momma stepped in and said “yes, he’s fine, now hush!”  I pinched up his arm and the little girl inched around to see what I was doing, but by the time she got close enough, the shot was over and gone.  There was nothing on his arm to see when she looked.

There was a part of me that was heartbroken to see this little girl who sincerely thought something was going to happen to her daddy.  Another part of me was heartbroken that I was the source of this little girl’s fear (mostly due to the white coat, for reasons we’ll have to discuss later).  Then a third part of me was heartbroken because her sincere concern for her daddy was discounted by the person who that concern was directed towards.

How often do we discount or ignore the concerns of children because we consider their youth and blow it off as “they just don’t understand”?  How often do we try to convince children to blindly trust us (and others) just because we’re adults or “professionals” rather than earning their trust and allowing them to naturally build trust?

How often do we treat other people (especially anyone who is not on the same “spiritual level” as us) in this way?