Monday, I had a dental appointment to have a root canal. This was my first visit to this dentist, but since almost all of my dental experiences have been positive, I expected the best. Walking into the office, a sign greeted me that read, “Turn off Cell Phones. No Food or Drinks.” The receptionist did not greet me. She barely met my eyes as she handed me a clipboard with a stack of forms to fill out, along with brisk instructions. I filled out my forms, and the dental hygienist called me back to the dental examination room.
Since I was not greeted, but directed, to the dental chair, I can only assume it was a dental hygienist who proceeded to take x-rays of tooth #3. When she could not take a clear x-ray on her third try, she called in a person in blue scrubs, who – again – did not introduced herself. I was beginning to wonder if they were pulling them in from the bus stop outside the office.
Moving on to x-ray number four, I expressed concern at the amount of trouble they were having x-raying my tooth. The girl in blue scrubs flippantly rolled her eyes and said, “X-rays are important.” Taking a deep breath, I considered the time out of my day I had scheduled for the appointment, the time I had spent driving and finding the dental office. I was primed for a root canal. I admonished myself to be patient. Myself said to me, “This feels all wrong.”
So I stood up and said, “I am not having a root canal. This is not the right place for me.” As I unclipped my bib, the bib clips got caught in my hair. My exit was less than graceful as I painfully ripped the clips out of my hair and lunged for my purse, moving briskly for the door as my cell phone loudly rang circus music. Suffice it to say that my exit was not as smooth as I might have hoped for.
When I posted my experience on Facebook, Nancy promptly brought forth a new dental recommendation. An appointment was made for the next day. The office was friendly, everyone introduced themselves, the x-ray took one try, and Dr. Fitzgerald was professional and charming. He even checked up on me later in the day. My root canal started off rocky, but ended well.
The evening of my root canal, I had a class meeting. I dreaded the meeting much more than the root canal. The subject was child molestation.
The good news we learned at the meeting was, although we can’t always keep our children from danger, we can empower them to know when to step back and walk away. The psychologist facilitating our meeting voiced something I think every parent should write on their bathroom mirror. The point is not to hunt down child molesters, or teach children not to talk to strangers, or lecture about designated drivers, but to empower our children to listen to and trust their gut feelings – their intuition. The point is to validate them when they say something feels right or feels wrong, even when our experience of the situation is different. Say no to a ride from your parent’s friend if it doesn’t feel right. Say yes to walking home a different way if your gut tells you to change course.
The root canal, the meeting, and the advice of the psychologist all reminded me to ask Cole first, “What were you feeling?” and second, “What were you thinking?”
Protecting our children, as they race forward at break-neck speeds is an ever growing challenge. We can, however, encourage them to trust their gut to guide them away from being a victim and towards strong, healthy choices. We empower or children by showing them how we trust, pay attention, and perhaps walk away when our own guts says “this just feels all wrong.”
Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to hang around with us any time. Odd Loves Company and odd loves you and you and you!! I would love to hear how your gut feeling have guided you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!