I’ve Got to Tell You about Our Awesome Eye Doctor!…


I’ve known Dr. Stan­ton L. Andrist, OD, of Moor­head Vision Asso­ciates (Moor­head, Minn.) since he became my optometrist when I was a teenager. After I moved away from home, and then moved back years later, I started see­ing him again. I also brought my fam­ily along as new patients. I’ve always liked him – he is soft-spoken, ever-courteous, expertly knowl­edge­able about eye health, as well as respect­ful of the patient’s (or parent’s) right to make a final deci­sion in health-care matters.

But what really “wows” me is how he treats my chil­dren. (The quick­est way to win a mother’s heart is not through her stom­ach; it’s through her kids!) Wit­ness (in your mind’s eye) my 5-year-old son’s eye-doctor appoint­ment yesterday:

Gabriel perched calmly in the big, eye-doctor’s-office chair, eagerly await­ing Dr. Andrist’s entrance (a tech­ni­cian had escorted us to the exam room). To be sure, Gabe was look­ing for­ward to this appoint­ment: he knows eye doc­tor vis­its don’t hurt, and he des­per­ately wants glasses! (The rest of us in the fam­ily have them, after all.)

Even at age 1–1/2, Gabriel appar­ently liked the idea of hav­ing glasses!

When Dr. Andrist entered, as well as he knows me, he headed straight for Gabriel and offered his hand for a very adult-like greet­ing. Gabe responded as maturely as any grown-up would to the doctor’s inquiry of “How are you?”

Through­out the eye appoint­ment, as I sat mutely by, Dr. Andrist spoke directly to Gabe about what he could see, about what the doc needed him to do for the exam, and about Gabriel’s sin­cere wish for glasses. I was espe­cially struck by the respect­ful way the doc­tor spoke with Gabe at every turn, includ­ing say­ing “thank you” to him for every step of coöper­a­tion Gabriel gave. I bet almost a dozen “thank you’s” were offered to my son for fol­low­ing “sim­ple” requests.

What a great les­son for this mom — and pro­fes­sional ser­vice provider — to observe and learn! How much effort would it take to say “thank you” each and every time my preschooler (or my 5th–grader, or my hus­band, or a client…) fol­lows a request I make and facil­i­tates my work with him/her? How much more will­ing would my preschooler (and the oth­ers) be to offer coöper­a­tion the next time? How pleas­ant our exchanges would be!

In sum, lots of pro­fes­sion­als – and fam­ily mem­bers – treat adults with respect, but it takes a very spe­cial per­son to treat a child with gen­uine respect. By respect­ing my preschooler, Dr. Andrist has earned my respect all over again.

6 Responses

  1. Solveig Carlson Says:

    I loved the “Gabe meet eye-doctor” story! And what a good les­son for each of us!

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  2. Mark Meadows Says:

    This was a very opti­mistic lit­tle account of an every­day activ­ity. Inter­est­ing that you can “see” so much in a place that is all about see­ing bet­ter. Some­times its not the nat­ural eye that needs help, but the inner eye. It looks like Dr. Andrist serves the whole package.

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  3. Heidi Mann Says:

    He absolutely does, Mark! Thanks for your comment.

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  4. Mary Toso Says:

    My hus­band is an optometrist, and also loves work­ing with chil­dren. I will for­ward your post to him as encour­age­ment that par­ents of “lit­tle patients” appre­ci­ate and notice their doc­tors’ atten­tion and respect for chil­dren. Thanks, Heidi!

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  5. Soo Says:

    Heidi, what a won­der­ful story about Gabe and Dr. Andrist. I do love sto­ries with mean­ing and a moral to them! It also brings home how much we as adults for­get what we have taught our chil­dren about man­ners, court­sey, polite­ness and sim­ply being civil to one another —espe­cially as our chil­dren grow into teenagers! Thank
    you for the reminder. The Golden Rule of Par­ent­ing: We need to teach our chil­dren by treat­ing them as we hope to always be treated.


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  6. Heidi Mann Says:

    You are absolutely right, Soo, about the Golden Rule of Par­ent­ing! Thanks for vis­it­ing my blog and for shar­ing your thoughts.


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