Imagine you’re three years old.
Just a tyke, full of imagination and no limits in sight. Always exploring. Always moving. Always playing. Your sense of adventure is often much larger than your height. And sometimes that over-eagerness leads to bumps and bruises, scrapes and scuffles.
So you, adventurous three year old, fall down, scrape a knee and immediately do what? Run to mom with a tear-streaked face looking for a Band-Aid and a kiss to make it all better.
I’ve been around a three year old for the past week and I saw this happen. He went skipping down the driveway running toward an inviting, puffy dog (and owner) and in his haste, he tripped over his Crocs on the way ending up in quadruped.
That’s not surprising. We remember those moments, when fear or surprise or pain renders us unable to go on. And it’s Mom or Dad to the rescue. Mom scooped up the tearful guy, gingerly washed his knee and applied a Band-Aid and a kiss.
He stopped crying, wiped his tears and snot-filled nose and was ready to play again. In fact, the only problem was that the Band-Aid wasn’t sufficiently sticky so he needed a few replacements throughout the day.
Why are Band-Aids and Kisses healing? I propose that it acknowledges the pain. It is a physical way to say, “I see you, buddy. I know you are hurting. I want to make it better.” I don’t think our needs are any different as adults. A friend of mine told her four year old that she had a headache and he promptly fixed her up!
Maybe this won’t fix a headache as this tyke tried for his mother, but it shows that he noticed her. We don’t want Angry Birds Band-Aids, but we want someone to sit with us, to see our pain, to acknowledge the hurting — no matter the source. That’s what I want. When I am in the midst of trial, I want a friend to say, “You’re not crazy! You’re allowed to be upset.” And, “I see you hurting.”
Such acknowledgement is their verbal Band-Aid, and to me, it works every time.