Phil Cowley, @philsmypharmacist, Cache Valley Pharmacy
When I was 17, I built a water balloon launcher in the back of my truck using two-inch wood dowels to mount into the truck bed. It could shoot a good block and a half, with each shot the dowels rattled against the metal of the truck. The wood weakened until it snapped, and the wood dowel stuck into my shin. That same year I was dumped by my girlfriend. By the time my dating career was over I was dumped seven times.
I see so many young adults unprepared for life. Here are a few lessons that kids should know that I learned on that day with a two-inch piece of wood sticking out of my leg and the years that followed:
First, inflammation isn’t the worst thing in the world. Inflammation is there to protect us from injuries, physical or emotional. For physical injuries take Ibuprofen and Tylenol, cool the joint with ice, and rest it. Emotionally injuries also cause inflammation, too many feelings and no way to fit them all in. Emotional inflammation needs time and room to be what it needs to be, both types of inflammation are essential to the growth of children.
Second, pain is not bad, it’s simply a reminder of things we shouldn’t continue to do. When physical pain is suffered, we learn not to jump off a cliff that high, not to touch something hot, and that when your friend says, “You’ll be fine,” you probably won’t be. Emotional pain is different for some reason. We too often return to the same thing that caused us pain. Emotional pain takes more experience, guidance, and time to learn to manage. Kids need to have both types of pain in their lives in order to survive.
Don’t do your kids a disservice by sheltering them from pain. It is the small failures in life that truly prepare us to become adults. Let your children fail. Let your children learn that pain is necessary in life so we can learn. I can give medications to help cope with both types of pain, but the essential nature of pain is crucial in our development to survive.
Finally, you must care for your wounds or they will get infected. When I removed the two-inch piece of wood, I had to make sure all remnants were removed, flush it with saline that was sterile, apply a topical antibiotic, and change the dressings. Young adults with nasty infections because they didn’t clean their wound are way too common.
Interpersonal relationships are hard for kids. It’s OK to get dumped, even it has been seven times. Growth comes from cleaning the emotional wounds as well.
Teach your kids how. Don’t be afraid to let your kids do dangerous things … carefully.
@philsmypharmacist works at the Cache Valley Pharmacy now located at 2380 North 400 East, Logan.