Check this out. What you will find is the story of a physician mother who temporarily loses her young son in a busy department store. The story of her panic. The story of her confusion. The story of the relief that she felt a few minutes later when her husband successfully retrieved the boy. Why, you might well be wondering at this point, did Vanderveer send me into this sea of household appliances to join the boy and his parents?  

Three reasons. First, the blogger had a great insight that I think is very worth sharing. The notion that a little real-life experience like this can help one to imagine the angst that migrant parents feel when their children are snatched away at the U.S. border and spirited off to God knows where. And, to imagine the panic that overtakes those children as they are trundled off to God knows where and for nobody knows how long. The point? If you are having a hard time getting in touch with something someone is going through that seems abstract, just stop for a moment and imagine how even a miniature version of such an experience might make you feel. A valuable learning moment.    

Second, the blogger points out that by definition, physicians are responsible for caring for everyone. All lives matter. Equally. But Atul Gawande, noted surgeon and healthcare researcher, points out that as a society, we are increasingly engaged in separating out “us” versus “them.” Separating lives that matter from those that don’t. Like is happening at the border. His observation that this is a slippery slope that doesn’t bode well for healthcare, or for society at large, is sage.

And last but not least, the blogger ponders in another, related post how the impact of this childhood trauma will affect the children involved. What kind of view will they have of society when they grow up? And what might they do as a result?

Bottom Line. A lot of worthwhile pondering can come out of a physician mother’s momentary loss of contact with her son. Maybe it is time we all approached even life’s seemingly minor experiences with some more deep dives into thought!

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