Recently, my wife, who is a family practice doctor, shared an interesting story with me. She was doing examinations on a 7-year-old boy and his 5-year-old sister. Because doctors visits, especially when shots are involved, can be a bit scary for kids, my wife at times lets the children listen to each other with her stethoscope before she examines them.
The little boy insisted on going first and he pressed the scope gently to his little sisters chest. My wife explained the sounds that he would hear as he found his sisters heartbeat. Now, it was his little sisters turn. She quickly put the stethoscope on and pressed the listening device to her brothers chest. As she listened intently, the little boy turned to my wife and asked, What does my soul sound like?
As they finished the visit, my wife spent some time speaking with the childrens mother. She likes to do this to get a better understanding of how her little patients are doing at home. For example, she asks if the children are eating and sleeping well and if there are other situations happening at home that could impact their health. Their mother quickly offered that their father, who she never married, recently moved out and moved on.
I suspect that my wife told me this story because I am fond of saying that kids have a hole in their soul in the shape of their dad and when a father is unwilling or unable to fill that hole, it can leave a wound that is not easily healed. Kids say the darndest
things and I could not help but wonder if this little boy with his seemingly nonsensical question was saying something more profoundly about himself and expressing a more deep-seated need than hours and hours of therapy could ever reveal.
Several years ago, I came across this article
, which I highly recommend that you read as well. It features an interview with Dr. Diane Schetky
who served as an expert witness for the defense at the trial of DC sniper, Lee Malvo
. In any case, when Schetky
why he blindly followed Muhammads instructions, he said, Anything he asked me to do I'd do. He knew I didn't have a father. He knew my weaknesses and what was missing.
Its worth recounting a bit of history about Malvo
. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1985 to Una James. His father, Leslie, reportedly doted on his young son. However, Leslie Malvo
worked off-island, and during his long absences, Malvo
was inconsolable. Over time, James suspected Leslie of infidelity and moved with her son to a small, rural part of Jamaica without telling him where they had gone. Lee was devastated by the loss of his father, according to Schetky
met Muhammad when he was just 15 and was immediately drawn to him. So much so, he quickly began calling Muhammad dad. In fact, Malvo
I was desperate to fill a void in my life
And the rest, unfortunately, is history.
t take much to see some similarities between Malvo
and the little boy in my wifes office. Am I saying that this boy and others who get disconnected from their fathers will grow up to be emotionless killers? Of course not. But what I am saying is that Malvo
was once a young fatherless boy with a soul that few seemed to hear except a man who would eventually convince Malvo
to be heard in a tragic way that ruined his life and ended the lives of so many others.