So much power is found in something so simple, yet it is so often ignored.
Curiosity – The thing that leads us to question what we know, to explore and to learn.
This may be my story (the story of how a pediatrician made the commitment to do things differently); however, it is also a story of how curiosity can change the world.
“I want to make a difference in the world by helping children to grow with a strong foundation of health and wellness.” Those words were written repeatedly by me as I applied to medical school and further to residencies. This goal was one that came to me when I was just 12 years old. The answer at that time seemed easy – become a physician. I never thought about the “how” much after that; just put one foot in front of the other and did what was required to become Dr. Noonan. Twenty-five years were spent on that path.
There was one “small” problem though.
A nagging feeling that what I was doing wasn’t enough.
Even more then not enough. I started to realize that I was perpetuating a system that didn’t work. Not only was our world not changing, but I was out of integrity with my personal beliefs.
Diagnoses made based on questionnaires.
Labeling and disempowering at the worst; innocently perpetuating lies at the best.
I was contributing to creating more of the same because I thought I knew the answers.
I treated kids who met diagnostic criteria because I didn’t know how to address the underlying issues. I gave parenting advice that was modeled to me without really thinking how it affected the child. (It was peaceful if it didn’t involve hitting, right?) I was very successful in my chosen career because I didn’t question what I was taught to do.
And then it happened. The first time I gave my son a “time-out” and saw the hurt in his eyes I realized that maybe what I knew wasn’t true. Maybe control wasn’t necessary. Maybe there was another way. I got curious.
What change did I really desire to create?
What did I really believe and stand for?
I imagine a world where children grow up knowing they are heard.
Knowing that they matter, that they are enough.
I imagine a world where children are self-assured, know their own voice, give and receive empathy and where self-love and self-care is not considered selfish. A world where numbing isn’t necessary because all emotions are considered normal and can be expressed in healthy ways.
How could I help create that world?
In the words of Marianne Williamson “There is no single effort more radical in its potential for saving the world than a transformation of the way we raise our children”.
I questioned what I knew and by doing so I realized that there is a different way.
We can change the way society views children. Change the stigma attached to parents asking for help (they can’t teach what they never learned). We can change the paradigm of life-skills education.
I had to learn how to choose connection over control. That decision changed everything for my family.
I realized that this was the message I was always meant to share.
Connection can change the world.
I left clinical medicine to help families and care-givers learn the skills required to really be present and accepting of the children in their lives. The skills required for them to love themselves unconditionally so they can model that to others.
This is a change whose time has come.
Every child is created for a purpose and every child deserves to experience ultimate joy. This can be done. It takes a little curiosity – what really is possible (everything and anything!) and how can we spread the message to empower our youth?
I look forward to sharing with you new ways of viewing the way we raise children.
I look forward to helping you get a little curious – what are you believing that isn’t true and how might life look if you believed something different?
For today, let’s start questioning any belief that says that children are anything less than whole and complete individuals when they are born and that they need to be controlled. How would you do things differently if you didn’t believe that?