To Vaccinate or Not Causes Bullying 14

I have been trying to stay out of this one, but I think I am meant to write this, as it keeps “popping” Light bulb back into my mind, so here goes.  I think I understand both sides which I’ll explain.  That is why I was really trying to stay out of it.  I still am not going to give you a definite answer as to what you need to do.  However, this week this debate caused two groups of otherwise intelligent, caring, autism advocates, to behave like two children in the sandbox fighting over a toy.  One side resorted to an inappropriate posting of a picture on Facebook that further lead to more angry Angry smile postings on both sides and some very inappropriate threatening posts.  Thank God these were eventually removed.  I am all about bully prevention and using technology appropriately, so I just cannot be quiet on this one.  Otherwise, I would be the guilty bystander who does not speak up when they see bullying.       

Let me start by explaining why I think I see the two sides clearly.  First, I will explain why vaccines are important to me aside from the fact that I am a R.N. and my husband is a M.D.   My oldest brother died when he was only thirteen months old of what was probably pneumococcal pneumonia.  This deeply affected my mother and in some ways she never recovered.  It was the second premature death of a loved one for her, as her father died when she was only sixteen of tuberculosis.  Both of these diagnoses now have vaccines to help prevent them although the tuberculosis vaccine is not without side effects, so it is rarely given in the United States.  My mother’s outlook on life might have been different if the vaccines had been available for my grandfather and older brother. 

Now, I will explain why I understand the other side.  I have personally taken two different prescription medications that have been pulled from the market, and I took both of them from the time they were newly on the market until they were removed from the market.  Both might have put me at an increased risk for a stroke.  Members of both sides of my family have died from strokes, so I am now a lot more cautious about taking medication that is new to the market.  However, medication can and does save lives just like vaccines can and do save lives, so I do take medications when needed and I take my flu shot every year.    

I believe in informed decisions and patient choices, but I also know that for vaccines to really be effective everyone needs to be vaccinated.  However, I heard Jenny McCarthy talk on one of the morning shows a few months ago and I got the impression that she is not anti-vaccine.  She is merely asking that the FDA really verify their safety and that vaccines for babies and young children be spaced out more.  I can understand this especially given what I know of her son’s story.  Peace

So, why is there bullying going on and why do we need a public service announcement at the movie theaters Filmstripwhen this information has already been all over the news media and the internet? Computer  I really don’t get it, but I do get that bullying others only makes them angry and hurts your cause.  It seems to me that we should all be on the same side.  As parents, we also need to set good examples for our children.

Learning Empathy and Tolerance for Others While Helping Our Children 1

Photographed at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Photographed at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

We all have to support each other and try harder to be empathic. It is not always easy to do, and this is especially true when we perceive an attack on our children. The grizzly bear or lioness comes out for me then.  I usually just avoid posting when this happens, because I know I will say something I will regret later otherwise.

Does this mean I always do the right thing?  I only wish this were true.  I too have been guilty of saying the wrong thing, as I think most people have.  I just hope anyone I have ever offended in any way has it in their hearts to forgive me.

It certainly brings home the issue of children bullying others over the Internet. That is why it is so important that we as parents teach our children that the Internet is forever.  They need to understand that it can’t just be torn up or erased.  It is the job of parents and educators to teach this to our children.

My son’s school has a wonderful class that they teach to the sixth graders called Technology.  It is not a quick one time class.  Rather, the class meets daily all year. They learn how to safely navigate the Internet, applicable laws that apply to information on the Internet, as well as, how wrong it is to cyber bully someone. They are learning that they are held accountable for their actions on the Internet.  I think it would be great if every school did this, although given the precociousness of today’s kids, it might need to be done at an earlier age.  Maybe we all need a class like this too!

Mahalo again for listening,

D. S. Walker