Vaccination – Coming to a School Near You

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about schools: what we’re taught in them, how little we learn to think for ourselves and the entrenched vaccine propaganda in science classes.

Thinking back to my school years, when I was a very good student (ok, I was a complete goody two-shoes straight-A top-of-the-class student who lived for reading and learning… there, I said it!!), I always did very well. Top of the class, in the advanced streams, etc. – you get the idea. The kind of person who people assume will go on to University to get a Very Good degree and a Very Good, Very Mainstream Job and Husband and have some Very Normal Children. My, how things have changed.

While going through some old boxes of junk I found under the house, I came across one of my old science notebooks from Year 12, which incidentally contained notes from our lessons on the immune system, biology and vaccination. It strikes me now just how earnest my notes were about how the immune system works, how vaccination is a wonderful means of saving lives and has cured epidemics and is the eighth wonder of the world, and so on, or words to that effect. It’s incredible just how totally unquestioning and unblinking those lines of writing are – these are the facts, don’t think about them, just accept it. Yes, it turns out that once upon a time I did believe in vaccines. Or, as my partner more accurately points out, I didn’t believe in them as such, I just hadn’t learned to think for myself yet.

So of course, I started thinking. Now, as an adult, there is no way I would have copied that stuff down without asking questions. I would have driven the teacher mad with arguments and being generally a little contrary about what it is we were being told. So, what’s changed?

Because it’s happened so gradually, it’s hard to really understand just how great an awakening it is that I’ve gone through in the last decade or so – how the simple idea that we should question everything we’re told, and think critically about things instead of blindly accepting what it is we’re ‘taught’ in those classrooms, has changed so much about me. And that is all that started it, really: I started to read alternative media and look at the world through different eyes. To finally realise that it’s ok to question things and to not just blindly follow the crowd, but to walk your own path and think for yourself. And it’s amazing just how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learnt because of that simple phrase: “question everything.”

In a classroom setting, how often are we taught to question what it is the teacher is saying? How many tests and exams must we sit through where we have to regurgitate the ‘right’ answer in order to get the ‘right’ number of credits or the ‘right’ grade, in order to profess to being ‘intelligent’ and go on to “higher education?” Where is the critical thought in that, or the ability to think for ourselves instead of just getting really good at memorising the things we need to know in order to ‘fit in’ in this crazy society? And how incredibly hard is it for most people, who really just want to fit in, to shake loose those shackles and to start to truly think critically and ask questions, going against the mainstream? Once you open Pandora’s Box, it’s both difficult and scary to even start to fathom how deep that proverbial rabbit hole goes.

A few of our teachers were fantastic at making us think and question, and to them I am forever grateful. But they were the rare exception to the rule – perhaps the curriculum has more to do with it than the teachers themselves, I don’t know.

Anyway.

I had a conversation with a young relative a week ago while he was visiting. He is largely unvaccinated, and a very bright, intelligent, popular kid – who knows how to question things. He approached me out of the blue, and told me about when the people came to his school to give everybody their vaccinations against whooping cough. He told me how they’d had ‘some nurse lady’ come to their school and show them a DVD where the ‘vaccine heroes’ fought off the whooping cough bugs, and how bad whooping cough is but it’s ok because the vaccine will protect them all. Then virtually everybody in his year had the ‘booster’ shots, but he didn’t – and how his friends told him he’d get sick. He told them he wouldn’t, because most people who had pertussis this year had been vaccinated anyway and it didn’t make much difference and he’d rather not have the vaccine because the ingredients aren’t nice. Then he laughed, because a few days later in their school newsletter there was a notice saying they’d had a whooping cough outbreak and to make sure you were vaccinated – and that everybody who had it, had had the vaccine.

I find it very interesting to see the difference between myself and him at the same age. Where I would have followed everything I was taught as gospel, because I was a Good Student, he’s been taught to question things, and told in reasonably simple terms why it is his family does things a little differently sometimes. And he’s turned into the most well-adjusted, intelligent young person, who not only does well in a classroom but can think for himself outside of it, too. Which is exactly what we need!

People, we need to be teaching our children to think for themselves – that regurgitating answers and having a good memory does not make you clever or smart, and that intelligence is more than just knowing things – it’s about knowing how to think, how to question, how to understand and to formulate your own ideas.

It also illustrated to me how important it is for parents of children who aren’t vaccinated to teach them, from a relatively young age, in language they understand and without scaring them or painting people who choose to vaccinate as ‘silly’ or ‘uneducated’ as I so often see, why it is they haven’t been vaccinated. The emotive language and the depth of brainwashing around the subject in schools is so large and so vast that to not teach your children a little about why you choose to go against the grain can be potentially quite damaging.

I’ve seen children in schools at vaccine time told by other kids that their parents mustn’t love them and that they’ll die a miserable death if they don’t get the jab, and end up in tears because of it. Then there are the stories from the Waikato of the DHB there giving out vaccinations without parental consent earlier this year (covered in a previous blog). The scaremongering is so serious, it’s something that needs to be addressed by parents from an early age, to give children the confidence to laugh as this young man did.

Looking back to those early days, it still amazes me how far I’ve come and how much things have changed. Question everything, and teach your children to question things, too. Not to their detriment academically, but enough that they understand that no one person has all the answers, and the diversity of thought in life. Teach them well, lead by example, stick to your guns, and watch it pay dividends in the well-adjusted, smart, beautiful people this next generation can – and hopefully will – turn out to be.