You NEED these shots so that your child can attend kindergarten, blares a sign at the children's hospital at checkin. You NEED these shots so that your child can attend kindergarten, it tells you at your physician's. You NEED these shots so that your child can attend kindergarten, it yells at the local clinic.
It's what you need. You're reminded that you *must* get the things you need so that your children can have the education they deserve at every turn.
Do you remember that Twilight Zone episode? "It's what you need," the old man would say, selling a comb or some shoelaces or stain remover. About thirty seconds later, the purchaser would discover that they really *needed* that item right then. An angry man with an attitude recognizes the old man's gift and begins demanding more and more "things he needs" to make him rich and happy until he slipped in the road and died wearing the shoes he was given.
"The shoes might not be what you needed," the old man said as spectators gathered around his dead body. "But they're certainly what I needed."
I wonder oftentimes when someone, anyone, tells me what I or my children "need," if they are truly saying this out of concern and consideration for us at all. Do we ever get so greedy that we take the things we "need" without considering whether we need them or whether they're even good for us at all? I don't mean to say that all vaccinations are bad and that those who vax their kids are colluding with the enemy. Good grief, no. But I do wonder if the industry and physicians groups see a net benefit to vaccination (economic, herd immunity, health or other benefit) and pressure individual families into acting against their own best interests. I wonder WHY, what the MOTIVATION is, behind the organizations stating what they do.
Do they give you all the information you need to make an informed decision? When have you ever seen a sign that reads, "The following are shots highly recommended by the state of Missouri for public school kindergarten attendance. We urge you to get these immunizations for your children so that the incidence of communicable disease is as low as possible. We say that we require you to immunize your child, but it really isn't a requirement. You can easily opt out using this form (give citation here and note where the form can be found). For that matter, you can easily opt out of public school altogether (cite MO state law number here). These are your children, and your decisions to make, but the studies we're basing our 'requirements' upon seem to indicate that thus and so is the best course of action for most preschoolers (citation of study). Thank you for your careful consideration of this information."
For that matter, I'm just using the vaccines as an example. Do children "need" the socialization of larger schools to do well in the opinion of muckety-muck professionals or the media, or are they just manipulative people trying to gain a bit more power and influence? Or would they like to employ a little fear-mongering so that their ratings go up? Or is it just an "outside the box" idea to homeschool, something that hasn't been done on a large scale for the last 30 years or so... and therefore perhaps a great or terrible idea (we don't know which until later, and why take the chance that you could be wrong)? Hat tip to Spunky for this video (worth your time, I promise). It's shockingly biased journalism. Just shocking. I know we all bring our own biases to the table whenever we report a story, but this was absolutely shoddy reporting. They even came out and implied that children in unschooling homes are "feral kids." You just can't get worse than that unless you want to maybe add in sexual molestation and torture of animals or something. (Maybe that would boost ratings; nevermind if it is accurate or not.)
Please don't think I'm just going after the public school shrills. Homeschoolers do this sort of thing, too, when they imply that EVERY parent can homeschool. Not every parent can. Grant you, more likely than not, doggone close to every parent can. Can they all do it well according to my personal standards? Of course not! And that's just the sort of idea that really annoys me when I see it in the media. You'd almost think you need a postgraduate degree in mathematics to even begin teaching your child "x + y = z." Even then, you'd BETTER think that "x + y = z" is really important in the first place. I'm sure all of us remember how to do all of our high school math, and that's why it's so important to make sure that our children are taught exactly right. We wouldn't want them to miss any "opportunities."
Can I just say that this video really made me mad? How openly and unashamedly biased can these people possibly be? Sure, they aren't teaching their kids algebra. Who in the #$# cares? Do you know how many chronically abused children there really are out there? And you're worried that a couple of kids growing dill in their basement might not get into the Ivy Leagues? Why the hostility and the grilling, the pointed questions? Not that I personally think the anything-goes attitude is best for raising children, but come on. They are wearing clothes. They eat regularly. They make eye contact and speak coherent English. The parents are doing a good enough job and if you don't like it? Butt out. The whole video seemed to point toward the "fact" that we need to pester our legislators for tougher homeschooling laws. No way we should let these kids get away with playing "hooky" all day!
JOURNALISM QUALITY UPDATE: I had no idea when viewing the video link above that it was produced by the same people who show us informative pieces like the one about the man who nearly suffocated on his *ahem* lover's boobs. With pictures! Dare you watch?