Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What To Do If Your Friends Have Questions About Vaccines

(This post is following up on my last post dedicated to vaccination.)

    So I’m glad we had this talk. I realize this subject is taboo and polarizing but I actually learned a lot from several, mostly private, conversations. And from what I’ve been told it actually helped some people realize that not everyone who doesn’t vaccinate is evil. Great.

    What I’ve learned is this: People who have questions about vaccines NEED someone to talk to but no one on either end wants to have exhaustive, tension-filled arguments debating science. Well, I take that back... the most extreme on both ends will gladly have exhaustive, tension-filled arguments about science! But that is not productive. So what do we do? If you shun a person for their curiosity, you are effectively sending them to the wolves. What I’m getting from my friends is that they don’t know what to say or how to react when someone approaches them with questions. That’s where I’ve realized the the conversation needs to start.

So you have a friend who has questions...

What you might hear: “I just read an article about all the junk they put in vaccines!”

What NOT to do:

1)    Dismiss their feelings with statements like:
“That’s total misinformation. The amount of toxins and chemicals in vaccines is well under what is acceptable for human consumption! You can’t believe everything you read!”

2)   Refer them to a bunch of technical studies:
“Well, I read an article stating.... blah, blah, blah........ I’ll send you an email later with links!”

What to do instead:

1)   Acknowledge their feelings.
“I know. There are a lot of conflicting messages out there about vaccines. It’s so hard to know what to do as a parent.”

2)   State your feelings in a non-judgmental way.
“I try to be educated and make good choices for my kids. In the end, I still feel like vaccination is the best route even if there are questionable ingredients.”

3)   Show trust in their judgment as a parent.
“You’re a good Mom. I’m sure you’ll make the right decision for your kids.”

4)   LISTEN if they need to talk about it further.
You don’t have to agree with them. You don’t have to say they are right to make them feel better. Validate their FEELINGS. “I’m sorry you are scared.” “It’s not easy.” etc.

You don’t have to lie. Most people just need someone to listen and then they will feel comfortable getting information from the right sources. And as much as you want to be that right source, you probably aren’t qualified to give them medical advice.

Another Example:

Someone posts an article or study on Facebook from a shady source about how vaccines cause cancer or infertility or how you are poisoning your children.

What NOT to do:

Post a competing article about the awful effects of vaccine preventable diseases with a caption that reads, “Seriously! People are so dumb if they can’t see why vaccines are necessary!” (Truthfully, that person might read your article but you’ve sent them in with a closed mind and they will probably end up more convinced of their own opinion.)

What to do instead:

Go ahead. Post your article about the most recent outbreak. (Maybe wait a few days.) But your caption should say something like this: “Those poor kids. I can’t imagine what their families are going through.” Your opinion on vaccination is implied by the giant article on your page but you are showing sympathy. Minds opened.

And on the off chance that a doctor is reading this...

This is what you should say to your patients:

“So I want to talk to you about vaccination. I know there is so much out there about the pros and cons of this decision and it’s hard to know who to trust. You are ultimately the only person on the planet who can make decisions for your kids so I want to make sure you have the best information. Overall, vaccines have been a huge success in this country and have saved countless lives. No medication or vaccination is without risk to certain individuals so it’s important that you understand why vaccination is important.” (Here is where you hand them packets of papers and go through it with them.)

If they have concerns and seem against vaccination all together:

“Not all vaccinations are created equal. They all have different ingredients and different risks but they also protect against a varying degree of danger. I would say there are a few that I feel are important to have on time in order to protect young children who are at higher risk of death. (Insert your chosen list of diseases.) I want to make sure you are comfortable with this process so please tell me your concerns and questions as they come up and together we can come up with a schedule that works for your child.”

If they still won’t budge:

“I’m not going to pressure you into making a decision about this today but I hope you will continue to have an open mind about the subject. I will continue to give you my advice on what I think is in the best interest of your child... that is hopefully what you are paying me for... but I also trust you as your child’s mother/father.”

Man, I wish I had this doctor! :) I know... doctors are busy. But if it truly is about the kids, this is how you have this conversation.

I hope this helps. I’ve truly been on both sides of this issue. I wish when I had questions people would have been open to talking to me about it.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dear Pro-Vaccine Mormons,

I’m getting tired of the vaccination debate/(massacre) that is virally circulating on Facebook due to the Disney Measles outbreak. I have literally seen death threats to parents who don’t vaccinate. First off, the majority of people I know who don’t vaccinate do not choose this because they are lazy, don’t care about their children, are reckless, uninformed, or paranoid. The majority of non-vaccinating members I know either have a child who has legitimately had a vaccine injury (something the government would compensate them for) or they were prompted by the spirit—strongly—not to get their child’s next round of shots. Seriously. Nothing conspiratorial. Pre-google search.
Having said that, if you are LDS and believe in any of the following (freedom, personal revelation, and mother’s intuition) you need to stop condemning these parents. I’m directing this to Mormons because these are the people making the comments on my feed and I see extreme hypocrisy in their message.
If you believe in freedom, you must know that a consequence of freedom is that we all have it. Not just those who you agree with. Advocating for the government to force parents to vaccinate is beyond scary. And exactly when did you start trusting the government? When it has nothing to do with guns, religion, marriage, birth control, taxes...
If you believe in personal revelation, you should completely understand that a parent could be prompted not to do something that seems normal to everyone else. How many stop-light-near-death-what-if-I-had-gone-when-the-light-turned-green experiences have you heard in your lifetime? But somehow, when a parent gets a bad feeling about shots, they are crazy.
If you believe in Mother’s intuition (or Father’s), then don’t pretend to know what is best for that person’s child... even if it potentially puts your child at risk. I don’t walk around church demanding that goldfish crackers be banned just because they could kill my kid. That’s “preventable” too and much more likely than your child dying of whooping cough.
You can’t pick and choose your convictions based on what helps you sleep at night. Either you believe in rights and revelation or you don’t. This is not a question of science. Although, even that is rife with hypocrisy on this issue in Mormon culture: “Beware of the evolution talk in science class kids but don’t ask questions about what is being injected into your veins!” Not to mention how many lawyers would be out of business if not for pharmaceutical recalls. But yes, shots are safe, for everyone, all the time, no matter what... uh, forever! Also, abortion is murder but any medical advancement procured from that child’s cells is fair game. K, cool.
Now, I realize that you all think I’m anti-vaccine (and anti-science) by this point! I’m actually not. I am absolutely not telling you to avoid vaccination. Or science class. I’m glad that those of you who vaccinate continue to do so and have not had an experience that has led you to your knees on this subject. Or maybe you have prayed about it and you received the go ahead for your kids. Great! Trust me. It’s an easier path. (You probably get treated like a human being at the doctor’s office... that must be nice.) I also know some of you will think I just don’t appreciate the devastation of some of these diseases. I don’t need to defend myself here but I have watched my child nearly die more times than any parent ever should. I get it.
No parent takes this decision lightly. No parent simply follows a celebrity trend when it comes to their kids’ lives. In all likelihood this was the hardest decision this parent has ever made. They probably spent many, many sleepless nights pleading for answers. But yes, let’s make sure these parents understand how selfish they are why don’t we?

Please think before you post.

(Oh and nobody’s lives are changed in the comments’ section. Please don’t pick a fight.)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Enough Is Enough

There is a war being waged in nearly every home and every community in this country… A war which is largely one-sided with the losers laying down their arms and the winners taking as many prisoners as possible, including the dissenting voices in their own army. This is the war that clever columnists and politicians have dubbed “the war on women” when in fact it is exactly the opposite. You see, the real war on women in this country was fought and won before my time by generations of brave and competent women who just wanted to be treated as human beings. This new war is not a continuation of that noble cause. This new war is a spit in the face to those women who fought so hard to be heard and taken seriously. The fighters in this war are not seeking equality to men. No… their goal is to teach every man, woman, and child that women no longer need men.

I almost brought this war into my own living room this week. My husband and I were watching “Daddy Daycare” with our two boys yesterday and laughing at how miserably these men were failing at running a childcare center. My 5 year old asked, “Why are they trying to do the Mommy’s job?” Instantly my inner girl power switch was flipped and I was about to take issue with the phrase “Mommy’s job”, especially when the tasks portrayed in the movie were so stereotypically menial. I decided instead to ask him a question back.

“Jay, can boys do everything girls can do?”

“NO!” He laughed.

“What can’t they do?”

“Stay home and take care of the kids,” he said matter-of-factly.

“You’re probably right,” I said jokingly (in light of our movie choice). “What about girls? What can boys do that girls can’t do?”

“Go to work.”

My mind started spinning. Everything inside of me wanted to declare, “Of course they can! Doesn’t Mommy work sometimes? And go to school? And take care of you? Girls can do ANYTHING boys can and then some!” And then I realized the real message that would have sent. “Women don’t need men. You have no purpose or value.”

I was about to take my own son prisoner in a war I didn’t know I was fighting. It was then I finally realized that we have gone too far, tipping the scales perhaps irreversibly in women’s favor. Our world is full of examples of women winning over “man's territory”. For heaven’s sake, we are about to face the very real possibility of a female president. We have conquered public service, the military, medicine, science, Hollywood, etc. The list goes on and on. There is nothing we can’t do… right? But as I stared into my son’s giant hazel eyes I just couldn’t say that to him. I didn’t believe it anymore. When I looked at him I saw the father he will one day be, the husband, the priesthood holder, the missionary. I saw a boy who is irreplaceable, talented, capable, kind and good. No one, male or female, can take his place in God’s plan. How could I know that about my son and at the same time tell him that women can do ANYTHING that men can?

We as women need a serious reality check. We have no problem saying that men can’t get pregnant, have babies, or nurse them. We hang these accomplishments and sufferings in our men's faces and demand gratitude and praise for our awesomeness. We use these amazing feats of female strength as proof that women are really the stronger sex. If men said half the things to us that we do to them, they would be labeled as misogynistic. Imagine if in your ward’s Mother’s Day program we were saying those things about men instead of women. Heads would roll. We as women can’t stand to hear men lifted on pedestals the way we so often are. That would be sexist!

(Now let me clarify that this is not in response to the “Ordain Women” movement, although I have been deeply disappointed by the reaction to that movement by our members. I fear many will be lost in that war as well. But let us not use the casualties of war as justification for our own testimonies. Those who have fallen away could be any of us. Perhaps we just haven’t had the question or trial that would break us.)

I want to live in a world where men and women are celebrated together… where our individual talents and abilities are vastly overshadowed by what we accomplish together as partners, marriages, families, and children of God. Gender is important, divine, and distinct but we are two halves of a whole. I think we are seeing the ramifications of a generation of feminism: men who are afraid to be men. I don’t want that for my boys.

I’m afraid it will be a long and hard fight to help them see their worth in this world we live in. In a world where single women are choosing to start families alone, reducing men to their genetic offerings. A world where women are acting like an oppressed minority. (I hate to break it to you but 50% doesn’t count as a minority.) Men are evil. Men are stupid.

We often talk about what the world is telling our daughters about their worth, but what about what we are telling our sons through our efforts to elevate our daughters? Men need to respect women but just as important is the need for women to respect men. I never in my life thought I would be saying those words! I have often fallen on the side of female empowerment. But as I see the institutions of marriage and family crumble, I have come to the realization that it is in large part due to the collapse of the male gender to the feminist agenda.

Today, I’m laying down my sword.

(Update: I originally posted a response to a few of the comments as an extra post on this blog. I deleted it. First and foremost because it was intended for a few people who commented below. They've seen it now. Secondly, because it became a complete distraction from the intent of this post. Men and women need each other. Period. I'm sorry to those who were immersed in the conversation on my other response post. Quite honestly, I just didn't feel like playing host to a feminism support group on my family blog. I respect you all but you are kind of exhausting. Don't you realize you are doing exactly what I said you would in the first paragraph? To be fair, a few of you were very nice. Thank you for your opinions. Realize that you may be seeing positive reaction to this on facebook and that makes you angry, but I only get to see the negative comments aside from a handful of family and friends who I pay to say nice things to me. ;) )

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Brady Brothers 2013

 I finally took the time to get real photos of the boys (meaning not on my iPhone!). I feel like a pathetic excuse for a photographer if I can't even do portraits of my own kids once a year! We only had about 15 minutes and Ty was being... well Ty and that made things a bit tricky. But I'm pretty happy with how they turned out all things considered.

Individuals were hard but getting the two of them together was nearly impossible.
 (As evidenced by Ty looking confused and Jay pulling his pant legs up.)
I'm going to have to do some kind of Frankenstein Photoshop voodoo to get a picture where they are both looking pleasantly at the camera at the same time.

Oh well, they are still so cute together.

Oh and the coolest part of this photo shoot is that it was done only about 5 minutes from my house at the entrance of a nice subdivision in our ward. Bet you thought it was a national park huh?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Watch Out Ladies

Jay in my new reading glasses.
Jay is not a man to be messed with!...
A few weeks ago we discovered that Jay was engaged to a girl in his preschool class named Brooklyn. She is literally the only girl in a class with 15 boys. Apparently, the boys all fight over who gets to stand next to her in line, but lucky Jay gets to eat snack with her everyday because they both bring their own lunch boxes. Well, she told Jay that they were getting married and he seemed fine with that because they were best friends and that's what best friends do. Then one day I was checking with Jay about the status of their relationship and he broke down sobbing! He told me they weren't friends anymore because she took all the red stickers. (The nerve!!) He no longer wanted anything to do with that sticker stealing primadonna! I figured it was for the best as my 5 year old isn't exactly husband material anyway. 

But then came the field trip to the farm.... (Cue the music)

Joe went with Jay to the farm (because Jay is allergic to all the animals!) to protect him from any cows, pigs, and sheep that might want to lick or bite him. Brooklyn's mom was there and she made it a point to come meet Joe and tell him what a giant crush Brooklyn has on Jay. I guess Jay's sudden hatred has come across to Brooklyn as playing hard to get and she just wants him more! To her, Jay is the one boy in class that won't give her the time of day and it's driving her crazy in love. According to her mom, Brooklyn is having a party next month and desperately wants Jay there. They are even willing to special make his own cupcake (Brooklyn has told her mom all about Jay's allergies [Cute!!]). I told Jay about the party and he REFUSES to go. I have tried all forms of bribery, trickery, sorcery and tom foolery to no avail.

Now what?! How am I supposed to tell this sweet mom of a love-struck preschooler that no amount of sugar could mend my son's bitter, broken heart? Man, with such a dramatic boy it's a good thing I'm so down to earth! ;)

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Day Has Finally Come...

Sorry for posting so much lately. 
Homework tends to inspire me to blog. 
Funny how that works!

Anyway, if anyone is at all curious as to what I have spent my entire summer creating, I'm about to show you. Drum roll please (\./.....) I now present to you selections from the new School of Life textbook:

Front Cover

Table of Contents


Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Homework

Last Page/Sign Off Sheet

Well, I have officially left my mark on the world. I suppose I can die happy now. Oh and if anyone works with youth (church callings, school teaching, your own kids) this is a fantastic life skills program! (Would be a great personal progress project!) It talks about how we are our own "toughest opponent" and the ten A's of successful living. (Appreciation, Assist, Attitude, Aim, Associate, Align, Action, Avoid, Adapt, and Always) Contact me if you'd like a copy/copies of the book. I could probably get them to you for $5-$10 per book (printing and shipping), depending on where I have to ship it to. You can also go to the website to learn more about the School of Life Program and how you can donate or help bring it to your city:

(Watch the video on the news page)

One Toddler For Sale

Anyone?... Anyone?