I’m not one for getting up on my soapbox very often. We all have rights to our own opinions, and is mine really worth much anyways? I don’t like controversy, and I avoid contentious conversations like the plague. So why, the other day, when I read a post written by someone who chooses not to vaccinate her children, did I respond? As soon as I clicked “reply,” I could have kicked myself. There was no response from the author until this morning. It made my blood boil, and I found myself typing angrily and quickly. Then I took a deep breath, and put my phone down after deleting everything I’d written. I did not want to engage with someone who is so far away from me in her thought process on this topic.
I have a child who spent years in the medically-fragile category. He’s still not fully out of the woods, as last year showed us. As an infant and early-toddler, he received monthly Synagis shots from October through April to help keep him from contracting RSV, which could have easily killed him had he become ill with it. He had pneumonia more times than I could count by the time he was seven years old. He missed nearly a month of school his kindergarten year due to illnesses. All this has helped frame my opinion on childhood vaccinations and keeping your kid home from school when he’s sick. I know this. It dawned on me this morning that the author of that post probably has never lived any of that. I’m glad for her she’s never experienced sitting by your child’s bedside in the NICU for months on end, never had to think about keeping her child home from school when strep, measles, and the flu are going around because it could spell disaster for him if he gets any of those illnesses. She comes at the discussion from a completely different experience. So rather than respond to her response, I left the conversation. I still stand, strongly, by my opinion on the matter. And Lord help the person whose un-vaccinated kid gets my kid deathly ill with something that could have been prevented.
We all have our issues which set us off, get us up on that soapbox. Sometimes we choose to stand, loud and proud, and voice our opinions. Sometimes, we choose to step off the soapbox without uttering a word. It makes my stomach hurt to get up there and state my opinion based upon my experiences because I know someone is going to have the opposite opinion, and putting myself out there opens me up to criticism, eyeball rolling, and the potential loss of people in my life (I hope I’ve never upset anyone that much in any rant I’ve ever posted). There are times we need to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. If it involves my kids, you can bet I will almost always take the risk, and let it fly.
Are you a soapboxer, or a non-soapboxer? What issues get you really going?