What Lice Taught Me

taking out lice


Writing about last week’s “adventure” makes my head want to crawl…

Last Wednesday, I had two kids complaining of itchy heads.  Immediately, the mom alarms were sounding in my head.

As soon as I was home, I sat down at the computer, Googled lice, and read everything I could in order to identify them and their signs.  I then checked my itchy kids’ heads.  My examination revealed that sure enough, our family had two confirmed cases of lice!

I had never dealt with this before so armed with all the information I could find on the internet, I began the grueling task of treating my kids, preventing the rest of the family from becoming infected, and making sure the house was also not infected.

When you have a large family, it would be so easy for this situation to quickly take on epic proportions and become an epidemic!

The next three days were invested to wash 30 loads of laundry, vacuum every bed and piece of furniture, vacuum every vehicle, wash every piece of bedding and every item of school clothing, clean suitcases from a recent trip, vacuum every rug, spray every mattress and piece of furniture and vehicle with repellents, wash every stuffed animal and blanket, treat every head in the family, and pick through every strand of hair several times to insure that no nit or louse remained.

At the same time that lice were discovered, my husband was also leaving for a business trip.  He bought me the treatment stuff and special nit-removal combs but had to leave me to deal with the situation on my own.

As the day progressed, I frequently found myself forgetting why I had gone upstairs or why I had gone downstairs because I would quickly get distracted by about five other jobs that needed to be done at the same time.

As the hours ticked, I knew it was a race against time.  I had so much to do before the kids could return to school, and I wanted to get some sleep that night.

Throughout my day, I kept muttering, “God, help me.  Have mercy on me!  This is too much for one person.  I can’t do it all.”

Later, the Lord would reveal to me how He truly had been there with me throughout my exhausting day.

It’s been nine days since we first discovered the lice.  Thankfully, I am fairly certain we got rid of it all.

Yet, I remain vigilant.  I make my kids change their clothes as soon as they arrive home from school.  I wash their bedding every day, vacuum their carpets and beds every day, and vacuum our main rugs and furniture every day.  I check heads at least once a day (first week, I checked heads twice a day).  I did a second treatment for lice on the infected kids.  I continue to be on high-alert, hoping to avoid any infestation again.

As I tediously examined each strand of my child’s thick hair, I couldn’t help but think how thorough I have been in protecting my children from lice and to rid our home of the creatures.  I have done everything possible to insure that no infestation will continue or occur again.

It struck me with the probing questions, “I am thorough in protecting my children’s heads, but how thorough am I am in protecting their minds and hearts?  Am I just as careful to insure that no harmful ideology, mindset, or attitude remains?”

As I continue to vigilantly guard against lice, my heart is also awakened to the need to guard my children against more insidious dangers of the heart and mind.

My kids may not always understand why my husband and I say “No” to certain games, activities, movies, music, or media outlets, but I know that there is more at stake than simply protecting against bugs and an itchy head.

The trajectory of their lives will be influenced by the things that shape the way they think and believe.


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