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A little myth-understanding

Posted on April 1, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Craig Funston

There are many myths out there in Neverland, and as we continue to leave our brains at the proverbial door, these myths assume the status of reality. But challenging these myths comes with a major personal risk.

I know a lot of them, but let me start out by singling out the teaching profession, of which I am a happy and satisfied member. There are a lot of myths about the competency and authority of the institution of all day school education—be it the board, administration, teachers, curriculum, and even the grading formula.

Challenging that model in the form of home education, for example, has been a long process.

Today’s paper is not about this form of schooling versus that form of schooling. I believe—and I say this publicly and sincerely—that there is a place for each form of education. The key is for the parents (not the school) to have more say and control, the needs (not the whims) of the child must be considered, and the curriculum must reflect the wise preparation for the real world.

I have many, many friends who are committed to each model, and I respect their individual choices. They are caring, genuine, and very capable, and I laud them all. Personally, I enjoy being in the classroom of a private school (most days!), but my wife (also a certified teacher) and I have opted for the homeschool model. It has worked well for us.

To repeat, this column is not as much about schooling options as it is about challenging myths. There are many myths about professionals who are always right, be they teachers, bankers, contractors, media, or even doctors. They have the training and certification, we say, so they must be right.

Yes, they should be right, but they could be guilty of a. their own bias; b. false information when they were being trained; and c. on that basis, repeating the same mistake(s) for the past ten, twenty, even thirty years. As parents and citizens, we must never take everything we hear at face value. To be sure, we must maintain a balance between gullibility and cynicism.

Let’s consider doctors, for example—and along with doctors, the whole medical profession. We have been programmed from the get-go from such venerable institutions as the World Health Organization (WHO) that we must be vaccinated. This is passed down throughout each medical jurisdiction in Canada, from downtown Toronto, Ontario, to Burdett, Alberta.

You say WHO and I say, “boo-who.”

If you question the value and veracity of vaccinations, you’re seen as some sort of wacko from Waco.

Or at least that’s how Jenny McCarthy must feel. I don’t know Jenny McCarthy from Joseph McCarthy, but she is taking it on the chin for simply stating that she will not have her kids immunized. There has been quite hue and cry since she opined on vaccinations.

What I find in this scenario so woefully disappointing is the fact that we cannot disagree with certain cherished, collectively-accepted habits, or even challenge them. The myth that drinking raw milk is dangerous would be one; the myth that traditional marriage is flawed is another.

In a free and democratic society (remember those days?), one of the freedoms we enjoyed was the freedom of speech, to express our views that might be different from the status quo. It seems that if we challenge the myths of same-sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia, and now vaccinations, we’re seen as neanderthal morons.

So, we’re neanderthals because we don’t accept the status quo? We’re morons because we think outside the box?

Whether I agree with Ms. McCarthy or not is irrelevant. A little myth-busting on the part of the populace may be in order here. I think we should all do due diligence when it comes to the side effects of vaccinations, looking for what exactly is being put into the bodies of our children, and the direct (not indirect or assumed) result there is between immunization and disease.

Oops, I think my bias is showing.

Not enough parents do that. Ultimately, though, they should have the final say and control as to what happens to their children. While they may not be certified, per se, they certainly are qualified. Again, parental rights and responsibilities are a mark of a free and democratic society.

But don’t take my word for it: Check it out for yourself. Maybe the basis for what what I’m saying is a myth. If you disagree with me, I won’t take it personally. After all, these issues are too important to be “myth-taken” about.

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