Have you noticed how hi-tech crutches have become.

A light aluminium frame with a cuff for the arm below the elbow and a handle for which the injured person to grip.

The evening before I went on holiday, I was at the Saturday Evening Mass when I noticed a friend of mine hobble out to communion on a pair of these modern crutches.

I had this immediate pang of sympathy towards her, not having heard that she had suffered an injury and resolved to speak to her after Mass to find out what had happened.

As I sat watching her, and the reactions of concern and sympathy from other parishioners, I had this blast from the past of a memory of a boy in my class, aged about 8 years having broken his leg and coming into school on crutches.

His crutches we wooden with rubber stoppers on the bottom and a cushioned rest for under his arm pits as he moved himself along.

I remember feeling very envious of him, for all the attention he got and the special arrangements made to accommodate his needs, his parents coming into class to help him settle (a most unusual occurrence), the teacher being nice to him, fuss, fuss, fuss.

I don’t remember feeling sympathetic for his accident, perhaps I have forgotten this detail because I was always a nice, kind boy, but I do remember thinking how great it would be if I broke my leg, go crutches and all the fuss and attention that would come with it.

I think what came to my mind as I watched my friend a couple of weeks ago, was a sense that as a child, I craved attention which did not seem to be given to me.

I had a lot of dreams and thoughts and worries which never got spoken and I had a feeling that it would have been nice to have been heard, to have felt noticed.

That is not to say, that I was not loved and looked after, but in that generation, children just got on with it.

I want to do two things as a result of this reverie, make sure I listen to my own inner voice as I have started to do, and also listen and actively seek what it is that my children want to say, no matter what it is.

I don’t need crutches to do that!

William Defoe

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