Thursday, December 20, 2007

Is it Better to be Helpful or Cautious?

Original post: 12-18-07

So I was teaching Sunday School on Sunday, and we had some low attendance. My second period 6th grade class had all of 4 students present. Kind of nice, really. Anyway, I taught my lesson as planned, and was close to the end. In the last 10 minutes, one of the students, J., said he had a headache. I hesitated for a fraction of a second, asked him to point out where it hurt, and then quietly suggested that I might be able to help if he wanted to let me try.

He asked me what I meant, and the other kids were very curious. I said that I've been studying Reiki, a form of energy healing, and I could channel some energy to his head by simply laying my hands there for a few minutes, and it might help his headache. He said ok, and I placed my hands on his head, and I felt them get warm with Reiki. He said "Wow, that feels really good!" I said, "Good" and kept talking about the lesson as I stood there with my hands on his head.
A few minutes later, I removed my hands and asked him how he felt. He said, "That felt great - really relaxing and warm!" I asked him how his headache was, and he said it was totally gone! Then he asked me to write down the name of that technique, and so did another student. They took the papers with the word "Reiki" with them when they left. I felt great.

But my Reiki teacher said I have to be more cautious. That giving Reiki to a child without his parent's permission is a bad idea, and they might not understand. Plus, if he had a headache because he is getting a virus, and the symptoms return in the middle of the night, his parents might think the Reiki caused him to be sick. They might not understand what Reiki is, and they might be furious with me and the school where I teach.

She had a point, though I only had the best intentions at the time, and felt like I did something good, caring and helpful. And the facts of the matter are that I put my hands on a kid's head gently for 5 minutes, and he felt better. Is that something to get upset over?

The good news is that it's Tuesday and as far as I know, there have been no phone calls. The kids are on winter break until mid-January. And I've been cautioned.

Do you think I'm naive? I sometimes seem to get myself into trouble by having the best of intentions towards people.


Lynda Lippin said...

I can remember that when I was in high school we had a Yoga component to phys ed. It was taught more from a fitness and flexibility standpoint with no religious overtones at all. But we had one girl in class whose parents were christian fundamentalists and they sent a letter refusing for their daughter to do yoga.

So given the rise of fundamentalism and the tendency of people to complain or even sue based on not understanding, it is probably best to err on the side of caution, even though you did nothing wrong.

Alice Langholt said...

Thanks Lynda! I agree, and yet have always chosen to err on the side of caution since, even though the temptation has been there again to reach out and do something when the opportunity is right there. It can be hard to resist the first instinct to help in favor of social conventions or ignorance. Also, I think from the perspective of a parent, if it was my kid, that I would want to give permission for ANY kind of treatment before it was given to my child. A good lesson in perspective.

Miau said...

I had never thought about situations like this before. Thanks for discussing it. Its harder to convey you were trying to good these days, people look at you with suspicion. :)