I do not vaccinate my children.
What thoughts come to mind when you discover that? Rage? Fear? Confusion? Compassion? Understanding?
What thoughts jump into your mind? She must be an uneducated person who thinks they cause autism. Obviously she just follows the media hype and the Jenny McCarthy crowd. How can she be so selfish? Clearly she just wants the “Natural Mommy” stamp. I hope she keeps her kids locked indoors.
Or maybe your thoughts jump to the other side: Good for her for fighting the FDA. I am so glad she isn’t another “sheeple” endangering her child. If other people care, they can just vaccinate their own children. Way to stand up to Big Pharma!
Don’t worry. I have heard them all. I have listened to the flings of hatred toward me or “them” for years. I have stood my ground as people have filled in the blanks of my line of thinking after only hearing one statement. I have been lumped into a massive grouping of individuals who presumably have no brains.
And I get it.
I understand why you feel that way. I understand the passion that this topic brings about because we all have the exact same intentions: keep children safe. I am the first in line when it comes to advocating for the safety of children. I will preach from the hilltops that they are human beings who deserve human rights. I am filled with sadness, and sometimes anger, when I hear of circumcisions, spankings and public humiliations. These children need a voice and I think it is amazing that there are so many people to give them that voice. That is what we need.
But the simple fact is that life is not as black and white as our passions want them to be. The blanks that our brains fill in when we hear a choice another has made are not complete, if they are even remotely accurate.
What leads us to fill in those blanks? To jump to such extreme and anger-inducing conclusions?
Pride is what prevents us from showing compassion. Pride ceases our ability to see the humanity in others. Pride shuts down our empathy and raises our voices. Pride lumps people into groups as opposed to separating them into souls, with minds, backgrounds, experiences and individualities.
Pride fuels the anger and destroys the discussion. The very same discussion that may change minds where they may need to be changed and soften hearts where they may have hardened.
Getting vaccines is scary. Not getting vaccines is scary. These tiny lives are in our hands and the first major decision we need to make with their body is scary.
I can only imagine choosing not to vaccinate and infecting a child who did not have the choice. I can only imagine how it feels to want to vaccinate your child and choosing not to because of a medical condition or a family history.
I can only imagine the outcome of vaccinating a child who has a family history of death from vaccines. I can only imagine what would happen if a child with a serious, rare allergy was vaccinated at birth and injected with a large direct dose of that allergen.
I can only imagine making the wrong choice.
Whether we vaccinate or we do not vaccinate, we all have to make a choice. A terrifying, potentially life-altering choice. No matter which side of the debate you are on, for the sake of children, I urge you to take your stand with compassion and love. Generosity and charity. There are people out there who need to hear what you have to say but no one listens to anger, attacks or pride.
Each one of us is working through this fear-based choice. And as long as children’s lives are at stake, I pray that the fear never ceases.