Saturday, October 20, 2012

Non-medical vaccinations

Before heading to Mexico to live for two years, I was given several shots. One of them felt like peanut butter being pumped into my hindquarters—chunky, not smooth. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.

I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV, but as I understand it, vaccinations are basically injecting a person with a small amount of whatever disease you’re trying to protect them from.

When I learned about that, I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. Why would you expose someone to a disease you don’t want them to get?

I remember being told that a small amount won’t cause you to get the disease, but instead, it will allow your body to learn how to fight the disease if it encounters it in a big way.

In the LDS church, there is a saying that members should be “in the world, but not of the world.” What does that mean? Well, my take on it is this: members need to exist in society, but should live to a higher standard than society. I think it’s a great idea. Just as there is peer pressure to do bad things, there can also be those who are an example of making good choices.

And here is where I may upset a few people—which won’t be the first time and I doubt will be the last. Sometimes I feel that there are those, and not only of the LDS faith, who focus too much on only part of the phrase “in the world, but not of the world”—that being the latter half.

As a parent of four daughters, three of them teenagers, I understand the desire to keep children out of harm’s way. Yet, if I shelter them too much, I’m doing a different type of harm: they won’t know how to deal with worldly issues if they aren’t exposed to them.

My vaccine metaphor is imperfect. I do not advocate that any parent should give kids drugs, or hand them a magazine of pornography, or swear at them so their children can learn the “bad words.”

But neither do I suggest that parents should never talk to their children about the vices of the world for fear that the children may become curious enough to seek them out.

What I’ve seen firsthand are young adults who leave their parents’ home and cannot interact with people in the “real world.” They’ve never had any exposure to what is out there, “in the world,” and when they are faced with it, they haven’t learned how to deal with it.

And if people can’t interaction with the world, how can that be a positive influence on it?


  1. I agree wholeheartedly. We need to prepare our children to face, survive, and thrive in the world we live in. I've seen kids go off to college and not know how to budget their time or their money, let alone how to make a good decision on their own.

  2. Good post! Thanks. I was talking about one of the things of this world with my husband; my son was sitting nearby, so I spelled t-o-p and said it was backwards so my husband would understand, thinking my son wouldn't figure it out. He did... and it led to a good discussion!