The child looked poorly. If he’d appeared on TV, you might be forgiven for immediately thinking, “Africa.” He had the thin frame and bulging tummy; his eyes were sunken and his legs so scrawny he was still only crawling at over a year. Once or twice, he let out a little cough.
His mother, a relative, had come over for a visit. I asked her what the problem was. “I don’t know,” she replied, glancing over at him. He was diligently examining the rug. “I think maybe he’s just the small type.”
Oh no, you don’t.
She obviously wouldn’t accept that she might be underfeeding him, and indeed that may well have been debatable. It wasn’t diarrhoea either – I asked – and he wasn’t always falling sick or anything. Which still left one option she probably wasn’t thinking about.
“This cough… Have you considered, maybe he’s using most of his energy – the energy he needs to grow – to fight infection? So maybe he never really falls sick because his body’s winning, but then he’s not growing well either. You know, like weeds?”
I could see she was following, so I pressed on. “Try being more aggressive with infection. Better still, try preventing it entirely. Minimise his having to fight to survive. It might surprise you how he’ll grow!”
What are you engaging that isn’t producing the results you expect, and you’re feel you’re giving it what it takes? Before you conclude that maybe “it’s just that way,” consider: could something else be using up your input?