12.12.2013

This holiday season, let's agree to disagree

I don't know what happened to me, folks. One minute I was rolling my eyes at a Facebook comment and the next I was raging against the machine. OK, not really, but I did allow myself to get a little worked up over something someone I don't even know said. (Got to love internet and it's ability to make us all sound like rambling, psychotic, know-it-alls!)

When it comes to face-to-face interaction, if there's a particular topic I feel strongly about, you're going to hear it (that is, if you do something to evoke me). I'm not one of those individuals that hops up on my soap box and preaches to others about how wrong they are. Because truthfully, that's the big problem with a lot of passionate people. We feel so damn strongly about something that we only see it as a black-or-white issue. When in reality, very few things in this world are black or white.

I fight a lot. There's something combative in my nature, I call it charming, my husband calls it high maintenance. But one of the things he always compliments is my ability to see the other side. In fact, when it comes to the way I see things, it's all pretty much gray to me. Even taxes, I know there's a set percentage and everything, but I really feel like there should be some wiggle room there.

Maybe it's my fear of being wrong, maybe it's my subconscious telling me to agree to disagree or else I'll murder someone, whatever it is, I fully admit that passion doesn't always correlate with accuracy. Just because I really, really think and believe in something, doesn't make it right. Especially not to everyone else.

This holiday season, maybe we can stop calling each other stupid just because we don't believe the same thing. And while most of us are smarter than to come out and simply tell someone "they're stupid," maybe we can stop inferring it, stop snickering at the people who think differently than us, stop believing the world will spin off it's axis just because another person doesn't agree with us.

Am I a little bit on the hippie side? Probably. (I mean not just anatomically, but the way I live my life). I'm vegan (gasp, shock, awe!), I like cloth diapers, I worry about global warming, our children don't get flu vaccines (or a handful of others for that matter), I make my own baby food and I'm a tiny bit of a feminist. (More gasp, shock and awe I'm sure).

But just because I think we shouldn't eat, use, abuse or bother sentient beings, doesn't mean I'm right. Do I fully believe a vegan lifestyle is the right decision for MY family? Yes, yes I do. Does that mean I think every person not adopting one is an asshole? Yes, yes I do. NO. I'm really just kidding. I realize there are numerous families that don't see anything wrong with drinking milk from cows, with slaughtering pigs for bacon, and honestly, I can't blame them. Some people don't view animals in the same light I see them; that doesn't make me right or them wrong, it makes us different. And thank Heavens for our differences because what would we have to complain about if we all thought the same way.

We choose to vaccinate on a delayed and alternative schedule. I've talked about this in detail before, but the gist is this: we did our research, we looked at both sides, we talked to our children's physician and in conjunction with him we came up with something we were all confident and comfortable with. Does this mean you can treat me like my children are the next plague? NO. No, you don't have the right to. You have the right to respect my decision as a parent and the thought and research I put into that conclusion.

 I have several friends who never received a vaccination and guess what, none of them have carried small pox. This isn't to say it can't happen, it's just to display a point. When you choose to vaccinate you do so at the risk of suffering possible adverse side effects, anywhere from a simple rash to death. While you can't 100-percent guarantee someone they won't have a reaction, you also can't 100-percent guarantee an unvaccinated child will undoubtedly contract and spread every terrible disease and illness. When it comes to parenting, hell, life in general, we weigh the options, assess the risks and play the odds.

I could bore you with the studies showing connections between the hormones and steroids being pumped into our meat and dairy that have been linked to cancers, to young girls going through puberty MUCH earlier, not to mention our increased heart disease rate. But I don't. Because I would like to believe that you know these things. And that when you decide what food you're putting in your bodies (just like we decide what food or vaccination we're putting in ours), I'd like to think that you've researched it, understand the risks and are playing the odds you believe will be in your family's favor.

And while we're on the topic of making people feel stupid, I'd like to extend that thought process out to professions as well. Guess what? Being a nurse, a doctor, a surgeon, doesn't make you smarter or better than me. Does it mean you have more experience and knowledge in medicines, chemistry and heart surgery? Yes. Does it mean you're better or smarter than me in every other way? No.

I dedicated my college degree to English, to the study of language and literature, but just because I can diagram a sentence doesn't mean I'm queen of the world. Hell, just because I went to college doesn't mean I'm better than the man or woman working behind the counter at a grocery store who chose not to. They could probably tell me a lot more about customer service than I know. Intelligence has  to do with the field you're judging someone on. Several of my nursing friends have utterly atrocious spelling and grammar. Do I giggle behind their backs and talk about how stupid they are because they can't spell "weird" the right way? No. I acknowledge that their specialty is NOT grammar and therefore, they aren't stupid because they can't tell me the difference between first, second and third person.

So this holiday season, maybe we could all be just a little bit nicer to everyone else. We all have something we're passionate about. We all have something we love and believe in. But just because someone doesn't share our love, passion and beliefs doesn't make them wrong, and telling them they're stupid, doesn't make US any more right.

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8 comments:

  1. I have a difficult time accepting the anti-vaccination movement. We've grown up with them and are fine. It seems irresponsible to risk infecting the population because of some idea or possibility of risk.

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    1. I feel like the parents decision regarding vaccinations is more of a personal one, based on the way it will impact the child and not the populous. I suppose I also realistically don't believe everyone in the world will choose to go anti-vaccination, so those whom are vaccinated shouldn't really be bothered by what my children have/don't have.

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  2. To the above comment about vaccines, if you are pro-vaccinations what illness do you have to worry about if you got the vaccine for everything? Those who don't get vaccines are taking those risks but I don't see how it puts anyone else at risk. I got every vaccine growing up and my daughter has received many of the vaccines because I weighed the pros and cons. So I'm not saying you're wrong, but those who choose to not get certain vaccines aren't going to cause the next plague. Also, many religions are anti-vaccination so add them to people who personally choose not to get them and there are a decent amount of people "unprotected" and yet many of us go throughout life without contracting an major illness.

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    1. Couldn't have said it better myself! Thanks for an outside opinion. I think vaccinations are a personal choice involving the family members and the family physician!

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  3. It's indeed a personal choice, and I understand the risks. People who choose to not vaccinate are banking on the fact most other children have gotten their vaccination. If 1 out of 1000 children are not vaccinated, they might as well be from the standpoint of contracting and spreading a deadly illness. Vaccination by proxy. But as the scales tip towards most not being vaccinated it becomes more and more of an issue. 900 out of 1000 unvaccinated and it becomes a very real threat of contracting and spreading a deadly disease within that 900. But that's something we all have to consider as there are risks with vaccination as well.

    Oh, and by the way, I'm stupid. Wait. Damnit, I messed that up! :-)

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    1. I suppose in a back-handed way, parents who aren't vaccinating are banking on the illness or disease not being around anymore, which, is, more than not, a product of the immunizations many others have had. I don't think that's an "intentional" thought though, you know? I feel like it's more "I don't like all of these things being put into my child's body" that is the foremost thought. But maybe I'm just being stupid too. ;)

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  4. My children are grown now, but I always taught them that you do not have to be like someone to LIKE someone. I am not like you in many ways, but I LIKE you for many reasons. You are thoughtful, and caring, and witty. Aren't those character traits more important than what is on our dinner plate, anyway? Happiest of Holidays!

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    1. I adore everything you said. It's so true. Sometimes the ways we're different are what help bring us together! Happiest of holidays to you, too! :)

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