Brooks Booker, MD.
What is the single best thing you have learned from working with children?
Shortly after I finished my training, I walked into a room to see a 4 year-old girl clutching a My Little Pony doll. After introducing myself I said, “Who’s this? Is she sick too?” The girl shot me an intense blank stare for a second and replied flatly, “It’s a toy. You play with them.” Then, she gave her mother a look that read, “Are you kidding me…?”
I never again underestimated children. They’re sharp and usually pick up everything that’s going on around them. Plus, they’re hilarious.
What did you learn from your Dad about parenting?
My Dad is a retired elementary school principal. Doing that job takes an amazing amount of love, compassion, and patience for children. He parented with those same qualities and I work every day to do the same.
What Superhero power do you wish you had as a parent?
That’s hard. My kids are sometimes not the best sleepers. So I’d love to be able to speak a simple word or phrase to make them fall asleep immediately. Is that hypnosis? It would also be cool to perform Jedi mind tricks on them.
“I don’t want to eat these vegetables!”
Hand wave. “You want to eat the vegetables.”
“I want to eat the vegetables. I will eat all of the vegetables”
How are kids today different than when you were a kid?
This makes me sound like an old coot, but it’s definitely technology. There are many opportunities with kids and technology, but some screen time is better than others, and you don’t want your kid to be a couch potato either. I watched TV and played Atari growing up, but I couldn’t wait to get outside to run around, ride my bike, build forts, and explore the outdoors. Kids need to spend more time unplugged and out in the world, having fun, and interacting with other kids in person. Fortunately, Bend is a great place for getting outside.
What can parents do to help you as a Pediatrician?
Know your kids. Little kids love it when you know what they like and who their friends are. Then when they’re older, you will be more likely to understand what they’re doing and why. This helps me because if you understand your child’s motivations, you can better explain to me how they’re doing or when they’re having a problem. The therapeutic relationship is always best when the doctor, the child, and the parents are all working on the same page.
The golden rule in parenting and in being a doctor is . . .?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat your patients and your children with respect, and they will treat others the same. If you want to raise nice kids, be nice to them.
Do you have a role model?
My wife is amazing. She has a deep patience for our children (and me), and works harder than anyone I know. She keeps her calm in the midst of total chaos and improvises very well. Plus, she can play Beastie Boys songs on a toy piano.
What do you think the next
generation has in store for us?
I’m expecting big things from this next generation. I’ve got kids in my practice that make robots, write code, speak several languages, write music, and professionally snowboard. They’ve got access to literally anything they want to learn about through the internet, and most of them are interested in exploring that.. I can’t wait to see the future they will build.