Today, I had the pleasure of meeting with authors, Susie Himes & Erin Hinshaw. This mother/daughter team recently released their amazing book called, “Kangaroo Had The Flu & Her Friends Have Problems Too!” The book not only inspired this blog post, but will also help open the door for discussing some difficult health-related topics. In the book, “Kangaroo” and her friends have many common medical problems, some as simple as a scrap or a burn, and others’ more serious conditions like Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, and Depression. The beautiful illustrations (by Paula Sadler) make this an interesting-read for children and the fun rhymes will inspire necessary parent/child or teacher/child discussions: 1. To help children with related symptoms see that they’re not alone in their suffering. 2. To help others become more aware and sensitive to those with medical illnesses.
In my profession, I see parallel problems; though mental illness oftentimes comes with more of a stigma. Many parents and other adults may have a hard time accepting certain conditions. Plus, children with learning, social, or behavioral deficits are often outcasts. Because our society has “labeled the labels” in my opinion, some kids who truly have ADHD, Autism-spectrum, or Bipolar conditions are incorrectly being defined as “just a boy,” “weird,” “hormonal,” “angry like her mother/father,” or “unmotivated and lazy.”
Let me say, I view mental health diagnoses as a necessity when it comes to getting certain services, specific treatment plans, and academic modifications. They merely help with considering the next-step and no, medication is not always the answer! When we simply talk (and keep talking) about the struggles that individuals have, whether in children or adults or with physical or mental health, we open the door for understanding, acceptance, treatment, and relief.
We not only need to talk more, but love more, accept more, and give more. For many, it begins with understanding that we are all different, we all have struggles, and we all should know we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14), despite the “label.”
At the end of our meeting, Susie left me with a quote by C.S. Lewis, “We read to know we are not alone.” I so appreciate this truth! In a world where many kids, adolescents, and adults feel alone, and where so many have resorted to taking their life or others’ life rather than dealing with hurt, pain, confusion, and anger; this is the time to come together and understand the beautiful blend of our physical and mental health.
—- To Susie & Erin: Thanks ladies for opening the door and making so many precious “friends” find comfort in knowing that others face similar challenges. I look forward to the next one, and the next one, and the next one 😉
To order this book or request a signed copy, visit Susie & Erin’s website @ www.fourdoorsaway.com