In the Peanuts comic strip, Lucy set up shop in a lemonade stand, offering psychiatric help for a nickel.
If I had a nickel for every Lice Happens client who needed a little psychological support, I could bury my combs in the back yard, fly to a tropical paradise, and sip piña coladas on the beach while handsome personal attendants give me pedicures. Yes, that many nickels.
My mission for lice removal isn’t just about getting rid of the skeevy little monsters. It’s about eliminating the deep shame and recrimination, the self-loathing, anger and blame that seem to be a part of the experience for most of my clients.
Nobody feels good about having lice. But what if they didn’t feel bad?
What if, instead of blaming themselves, or the school, or the kids at the sleepover, a parent faced with lice could simply treat the situation like any other inconvenience—a flat tire, a hairball clogging the drain, or a stinkbug sealed in the light fixture? Or like any other childhood medical experience—chicken pox, skinned knees, bloody nose? What if we all went about the business of lice removal without the emotional baggage we choose to attach to it?
Fortunately, the fear and shame can be diminished with a little education, even if the heebie-jeebies persist. Knowing that lice have been around since the dawn of man can help reduce the feeling of isolation. You’re not the first family to report head lice, unless your family name is “Tutankhamen,” and you won’t be the last. But it probably helps more to know that I’ve treated the families of very rich, very famous, very embarrassed people. You are not alone.
It’s totally your choice, of course. If you’d rather hide your problems behind a curtain of shame, no one will know that YOUR kid got lice. But they’ll also miss an opportunity to know the brave part of you that doesn’t care what other people think when there’s a chance you might help someone else avoid the inconvenience of a full-blown infestation by speaking up. Or that you might comfort someone else when they find out that THEY are not alone.
I’m hereby adding “lice coach” to my job title—a combination of lice expert and life coach that more accurately describes what I do. On those days when I can turn a potentially traumatic incident into a growth opportunity, turn tears of shame into laughter, and offer “calm-ick relief,” my superhero powers are fully engaged in providing a new perspective on this ancient problem. On those days, the lice coach is “in.”
That’ll be five cents, please.