Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hospital visits

Hospitals are familiar places for pastors. We visit them often, but when you go to visit a child in the hospital or the immediate family of the child...it's a little different. So, this week, I want to share a couple tips for those times.

More than likely the child in the hospital is nervous or afraid. Hospitals can be scary places for kids, so it's important that you bring comfort and cheer if you can. Remind them that God is taking care of them and pray for them while you are in the room. And, if possible, leave the child smiling.

Take a small gift
When I am out shopping, I look for small items that I can keep in my office to take to kids when I visit them in hospitals. Small stuffed animals, simple toys, or activity books can bring some joy to a child. It doesn't have to be expensive, just something they can play with while they are recuperating.

If it's serious...
Most of the time, kids go into hospitals for common procedures like having tubes put in their ears, setting a broken arm or leg, or some other procedure that might entail a short stay. But sometimes, it is more serious. Sometimes you may have a child that is facing a chronic or even deadly disease like cancer, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, or any number of other things. When that happens, the previous two tips are appropriate, but know that this child probably knows more about doctors and procedures than you ever will. Their treatments, while not pleasant, are a part of their lives at this point in time and should be treated as such. Often, they really want to "just be like other kids", so treat them like that. Don't ignore their illness, but when you can, don't make it the focus either. Show them compassion and love and remind them often that God is with them.  They get tired of being the "sick kid," so do all you can to just let them be a kid.

I'm not an expert on these matters, but these are things that have been helpful for me.

Until next week...

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