A Farewell Message From Richard Kauff, MD: "Don't Look Down."
South Shore Medical Center's Richard Kauff, MD spent nearly four decades as a pediatrician. As he prepared to retire in late July, he shared the "farewell" note below, which features some advice for today's parents.
I am getting ready to retire after a tremendously rewarding 39-year career as a primary care pediatrician.
My days have been full of mostly laughter (and a few tears). I am in debt to all of the parents who trusted me with the care of their children, as well as the children who made me smile every day.
Thank you also for the tremendous expressions of appreciation and love you have shown me the last few months.
I just have one parting bit of advice that I hope you consider in the positive way it is intended:
Don’t look down.
By that, I mean please think twice before you look at your phone when you are with your children.
I have tried not to keep you waiting in my office - not always successfully.
When I enter the room, the majority of times the parent, child, or, more commonly, both are looking down at their phones.
You have a captive audience with both of you stuck in the exam room. Please bring a book or stickers for the younger children - a game of “I Spy” is always a good time filler.
With older children, just talk - about anything!
As parents and pediatricians, we all know about the explosion of anxiety and unhappiness among today’s youth.
They are overconnected to technology, which leaves them underconnected to people. We all wish they would be on their phones less. But we underestimate how the behaviors we model affect our children.
They truly want to be like us, though as they get older, they will seldom admit it.
More importantly, in my view, when you are on your phone during a visit, you give your child the impression that their visit is no more important than your texts and voicemails, or something a friend or stranger posted.
That simply can’t be so. When we lead our children to believe that everything in life is of equal value, we deprive them of the ability to see that the love of family and close friends is more important than a negative social media comment from someone in school they barely know.
This is destructive, and I know that is not your intention.
So please, please, please…don’t look down.
I promise you will not miss anything and that your wonderful children will notice.