I live in two worlds. People from my work world rarely enter my other world. That reality is tragic… and utterly unacceptable.
I’m a physician specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. In my job, I get to do lots of cool stuff. I teach at two medical schools and do research to assess the safety and effectiveness of medications given to kids for ADHD, anxiety and depression. I run a group practice in a suburb of Cleveland where, together with a very talented team of mental health and education professionals, I see lots of families struggling with the full range of emotional and behavioral problems occurring among kids of this generation. I enjoy my job. With all due modesty, I’m really good at piecing together why kids are having problems and developing plans in partnership with their parents to help address the most important concerns. But all too often, I go home with the knowledge that what my kids and their families most need isn’t going to happen.
In my other world, I’m part of a family centered on honoring and serving Jesus Christ, together with my wife and two girls. We’ve been blessed to have been a part of two great churches where all of us have had the opportunity to experience great teaching, find friends we’ll enjoy for the rest of our lives, worship together and serve together.
So, what’s wrong with that?
The families I see in my work world rarely venture into the community of Christ-followers I do life with in my local church. And that’s totally unacceptable to God!
I hope and pray that God will use this blog and the efforts of our team at Key Ministry to help people involved in the church world to get to know and understand the families I see in my work world. Families of kids with “hidden disabilities”…significant emotional, behavioral, developmental or neurologic conditions without outwardly apparent physical symptoms. Once my church friends get a handle on the families in their communities who come to practices like mine, we can problem-solve together just how to welcome them into our environments, include them in the stuff we do so they can come to know Jesus, accept him as Lord, and grow to be more like him. Just like we do.
Together, God will help us figure out how we as church can welcome and include families of kids with real, but invisible disabilities. Families living within the shadows of our steeples.