Before I begin, I want to tell you a little about me:
acknowledge that my voice might be a lone one in a sea of compliance – a compliance born out of fear, apathy, curiosity, and a mindset of “Where we don’t understand, let us instead, command”.
I want to acknowledge that as I write this, it is 2am, a time in which my body is usually asleep, yet conscious peaks where the heart is awake to
I want to acknowledge that one of my children came home with a stress headache today and missed a favorite activity because of sharing with me that “people are against me” at school. He’s worried for his mom!
I want to acknowledge that there are more categories to be explored besides the consciousness of “vaxer” and “anti-vaxer” and, as one 12-year child asked me what side I was on demonstrated, it really is a divice of issue. When I answered that I am for the individual – the individual person/family, they became silent. This is not a conversation that an elementary school student could initiate with me, I feel. A five-year-old is more of a feeling being, not cognizant, and a fifth grader is preoccupied with other developmental duties. Introducing a medical procedure in our buildings may bring in the unintended consequence of feeling like you exist on a side – a side that separates you from your classmates and other students. Who speaks of individuality in primary school? Further . . .
Have you considered:
There are parents that feel that the vaccine may not be appropriate for their child at this time and that the peer pressure to conform to the school’s declaration that is is “good news” that their facility will be used as a vaccine site may put them and their family outside of the narrative, creating false divisions of “good/bad” and “right/wrong” as it concerns decisions that are medical in nature and therefore sensitive and the domain of each family’s private choice?
Have you considered that those children who are not vaccinated are ostracized from those who are – that the idea that people who aren’t vaccinated are “not safe” to be around – a theme that is very popular in promoting vaccine usage but may be more of a mind-set based on a sense of trepidation – the unknown?
Have you considered the placebo/nocebo effect and this very real phenomenon of being cured or harmed by the investment in belief – be it a medicine, a diagnosis, a procedure – and the results of that belief on the functioning of every system of the body – whether it be to upgrade or downgrade the system?
Have you considered that the territory of our children’s school – a place where they have been free to study and play in the presence of familiar adults and peers and the fact that some of their classmates are undergoing procedures that could be frightening and disturbing or confusing, painful – that their territory is being invaded, in a sense, and that could be shocking and disturbing to some children, creating unintended consequences?
Have you considered the effect of cortisol and adrenaline – two bodily chemicals that down-grade cell processes in humans – on the children as they are aware that, as they learn all day in their classrooms, children in the building may be being poked?
Have you considered that children of five and ten, though very different in cognition, nevertheless have relationships with each other in the building, that in some cases the older children are paired with younger ones, and that there may be a feeling of helplessness as older children are not able to protect the younger children (siblings in a way, if you will, who they have been encouraged to “look out for” at recess, for example) from the very real fear of needles and being poked and prodded?
Have you considered that as medical personal monitor the health status of those who receive the vaccination – that their won’t be a sense of distraction as classmates and teachers are then put in the position of monitoring the students who return, or worrying about those who may feel ill and need more time/rest/ or to take the rest of the day off of school?
Have you considered that the consciousness of being around folks who are choosing or discarding what has become a sort of “hot-button” topic, no thanks to news needing ratings to hold attention, and if it bleeds it leads as they say, – and that the choice to focus on other aspects of healthy living – like the joy of movement, nutrition, friendship and learning that is so present in the classroom – will be compromised in favor of a topic that they are not yet equipped to think about let alone discuss with any sort of restraint or nuance or compassion for various points of view?
While the dust is kicked up, and clear seeing and cogent action that regards the developmental needs – and not just the real or perceived health needs – of our children is not yet available, why not wait and allow testing and other medical sites to be erected in more neutral and less-assuming areas of town – a metaphor for a more neutral area of consciousness for our children?
While the dust is kicked up, why not let our families make individual choices between them, their children, and their doctors – and leave the classroom a place of developmentally appropriate learning – free from any fear, trepidation, confusion, curiosity, distraction, you get the point? (no pun intended).
While the dust is kicked up, why not upgrade consciousness to “wait and see” and again, honor the individual prerogative of the parents and families with the help of their doctors, their support systems and their conscience – why not upgrade the message you are spreading to “wait and see” and “trust in the individual capacity to discern and choose” and therefore model for our children ways to downgrade fear as a useful mindset?
Of course, this discussion does not consider those families and individuals who are in various trauma states due to life-circumstances – illness being one of those circumstances – though disruption in routine, predictable behavior and resources, sources of support and relief being just a few others. Can we be sure that the efforts to preserve the ability to choose what is best for each child and family will be preserved in the most vulnerable of us? In other words, are we not, as a human family, a little like a deer in headlights having been at the mercy, so to speak, of the landscape of uncertainty and the fear of getting sick? Even if some of us have gotten sick and recovered, the fact that even one person is made to be a statistic by their death – and may God rest their soul in that case – by the effects of what is being categorized as a pandemic – even though some of us have not actually been sick or had a loved one or family member or friend debilitated by this – the fact that even one person is made to be a statistic – this is introducing what is essentially “existence conflict” during a time in a person’s life – childhood – that the thought “I’m okay, You’re okay” can be deeply and effectively programmed for life-long well-being as a supportive belief?
Let our schools be free from medical procedure and the seen and unforeseen consequences of – at the lightest distracting and the heaviest burdening our children from the business of being children. The playground, a place we highly prize for our kids growing bodies, being a metaphor for a life of choice between many wonderful experiences, to be had, the lessons of strength, resiliency and friendship woven in unconsciously – is a place we must therefore consciously protect and ensure that the discussions we adults seem to enjoy participating and debating, exciting as they seem, made to be valued by those in our purview who have their own ideas of excitement, joy, discovery and relationship free from fear to engage with and in.