First Aid or Physio

First Aid or Physio

In this day and age when we have terms such as ‘helicopter parents’ I sometimes wonder if I get the balance right between protecting and pushing my kids.

It is natural for us to want to look after our kids and prevent any harm to them – in fact you could say that that is a key part of our job description as parents. Perhaps though it is our definition of ‘harm’ that needs examining.

Is a lack of comfort ‘harm’? Is hurt synonymous with harm?

It occurred to me recently that there are different ways of dealing with physical injury and perhaps these apply to other parts of our life too.

When I tore my achilles a number of years ago, the immediate treatment involved immobilisation, rest and bandaging, all in the effort to protect a vulnerable, already damaged part of my body from further harm. After a couple of weeks though it was time to start going to the physio. There they hurt me! The pushed, pulled, prodded, massaged and stretched the muscles, tendons and ligaments – and it hurt. I would limp home from the physio feeling worse than I had been before. But slowly the strength began to return, and as it did, the physio pushed harder, stretched further, made me work harder – and it hurt! Until eventually I re-gained the full range of motion and strength I’d had before.

I then went on to strengthen that part of my body further so that I wouldn’t injure it again. The result, with help from the physio and a lot of hurt, was that I was better than before, stronger than I had been, less likely to be harmed.

Perhaps as our children (and us too) face the trials of life we need to recognise that, yes, there are times for first aid. To immobilise, support, rest and protect, but, if we stop here, we lose strength and our ‘muscle’ withers away (ever had a cast on your arm for a couple of weeks?). It is important to realise that to improve our strength or ability, to grow, we need to be stretched, we need to be pushed and prodded appropriately, we need to ‘hurt’ in helpful ways and to distinguish ‘hurt’ from ‘harm’.

Here, perhaps, we begin to unwrap the apparent paradox of Jesus telling us to both take on his ‘easy yoke’ and ‘take up our cross’.

With our kids it is our role as parents to make wise choices in choosing whether ‘first-aid’ or ‘physio’ is appropriate. For us, we are responsible to make those same wise choices for ourselves and this is sometimes more challenging as it’s not often we put up our hand to hurt.

What is ‘Orange’? Orange is a visual reminder that to help our kids follow Jesus the church and families need to work together.

If RED represents the love and heart of families for their kids…

And YELLOW represents the light that the church should be in the world…

Then ORANGE is when we come together, work together and guide our children together.


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