My teens are in love with the group Coldplay and their ballad “Fix You.” I understand completely. This song has a haunting melody of the type that you find yourself humming over and over.

I have a problem with the song though. I find these lyrics troubling on many levels:

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Now I realize it is simply a song, probably with no deeper meanings and not intended to reveal any ideology or great truths. But I think a lot of people buy into the notion that another person can be “fixed” and worse, that something is in fact “wrong” with them.

A few years ago, some friends decided to pursue foster adoption. I knew this family quite well and actually warned them against it; I had concerns about how realistically they were looking at the whole picture. I was right to be concerned. When Bonny entered their home with her tantrums and cursing, it became a very challenging situation. I think the biggest challenge boiled down to this; they thought Bonny needed fixing, and they set out to fix her.

On the face of it, it makes sense, doesn’t it? Yet it is misguided in a subtle way. Bonny, a 2-year-old who had been critically injured by her birth mother, definitely needed help, and her tantrums were her way of asking for it. The difficulty is when the “help” was more about Bonny fitting into their family than about helping her become a happier, more whole person.

It’s a fine line, isn’t it? We certainly do need to make adjustments that help our family function. Of course, our other family members have to be considered. It is my postulation, however, that if we can wrap our hearts around what is really and truly the best we can do for that one child, the rest of us will all benefit.

It is not always easy. Yet, when I am able to see past my irritation and think about what is it that this child truly needs, put aside my momentary comfort, and look at the bigger picture, I can do more to help them with whatever is currently in their path. And somehow, this magically helps all of us. So maybe it really boils down to “fix me.”