April 19, 2010

Best for MY Kid!

"You'll know what's best for your own child."

Really?! Because I keep hearing that from various self-help people and even from nurses at the hospital. Also pediatricians. Maybe I'm just a hair on the old-fashioned side, but am I the only one who thinks that may be just a bit overplayed?
I'm trying to figure out where this comes from, because I hear it everywhere.

Look, I'll be the first one to cede the point that parents do spend more time with their children than anyone else (generally) and that there is a certain level of behavioral subtext and empathy that develops with that bond, but I'm also a firm believer in the power of expert knowledge. And yes, you may know your child better than anyone else does... but does that power negate the fact that you know jack about medicine other than what you read on the internet? And you want to tell your doctor in the face of the preponderance of evidence to the contrary and the combined knowledge of two hundred years of medicinal practice that vaccines aren't good for your kid? Really?!

This comes in under the same category as "I know my body" and all manner of psychobabble nonsense. I don't completely disregard the notion that a body's sensory inputs exist for a reason, but people are willing to put WAY too much emphasis on limited personal experience and anecdote for things ranging from self-diagnosis to all manner of hokum (*cough* Holistic Medicine *cough*) and hoodoo to the point where they're willing to ignore expert practitioners of the scientific process because it doesn't "feel right." Again, I'm not saying all doctors are perfect or even that there aren't agendas in play by various organizations (drug companies, for instance), but just being moron with an internet connection and access to Wikipedia doesn't make you qualified to pretend that you have an advanced degree and expertise in quantum physics, so why would you think that WebMD can make you a medical doctor?! Or a fully qualified teacher, for that matter?

Obviously, if you want to homeschool, I think that it can be done. And God knows that I've never made it a secret that I have almost no respect for the actual science of elementary education beyond basic crowd control dynamics. But at the same time, if you're not willing to give it the devoted time and effort that professional teachers do in terms of basic education, continuing education, pedagogy and subject matter expertise, why would you think that anyone would respect the fact that you "know your kids". I can know my daughter all I want, but that doesn't make me qualified to teach her French. First, I have to also know French... and well enough to TEACH it, at that.

Wow... this got long-winded and ranty. Circling back around, knowledge of one's kid(s) cannot replace subject-area expertise. It can yield a limited subset of results as far as the basic care, feeding and maintenance of one's kids, but for truly advanced results, see an expert.

Oh, and there's one quotation that I feel is rather poignant in this case... especially with regards to the true professionals in the practice of their trade. You see, your kid is a great kid, and I'm sure you love yours. I know I love mine. But let's not go pretending that your kid is such an individual that a pediatrician/teacher/obstetrician/baby furniture vendor has never seen one like yours before. Or...

"Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else." - Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at April 19, 2010 11:20 PM | TrackBack