Sunday, March 31, 2019

Mental health

Lizzy posed a question to me recently:  "What is mental health?"

I took a very deep breath.  Is this the moment when I need to explain to my daughter that clinical depression and anxiety likely run in her genes?  Did someone say something to her about her mother's psyche?  

I gave a very brief definition ("'mental' means how you think, so 'mental health' is if your thinking is healthy"), and then, thankfully, paused and asked her where she heard that term.  

She moved a chair over, climbed up, and got down a package of bunny treats.  She read from the back.  "'Promotes mental health'...... oh wait...... 'dental health.'"

Caleb has started baseball this year.  His recent practice shook his mental health when it ended with his coach getting carted off to the emergency room to get his face stitched up after taking a line drive to the mouth.

Shortly after that, Jason sat down with him to order him an athletic cup, in preparation for the first game coming up soon.  Caleb asked what a cup is.  After Jason explained, Caleb thought about that soberly for a moment and then said, "Well, it's more my face I need it for."

[I have always said, and continue to say, that girls are the reasonable ones for wearing face masks in softball.  Why boys bother to wear a cup but not a face mask/helmet is beyond me.]

A few days later Caleb's cup arrived, courtesy of Amazon Prime.  Within the first ten minutes of opening it, Caleb's rabbit Ears had used it by turns for a food bowl, a rocking chair, a helmet, and a hockey mask.

It can't be much more than a matter of time before Caleb is embarrassed by pretty much everything he does and says nowadays, but he need not be embarrassed of where his hope lies.  There are certain things, big things, that he understands perfectly well--better than certain world-class physicists.  

This morning's sermon was on Genesis 1:1:  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

I was a bit startled to realize that Caleb was actually paying attention when the preacher was talking about the ludicrousness of atheism, and how some people believe there's no God.  Caleb turned to me, amused, and asked rhetorically, "Then who made us?"

Indeed, mental health problems may run in my children's genes.  But if they can always grasp the big categories of life as clearly as my six-year-old can today, I'm less worried about them than if they were self-confident world-class physics geniuses.

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