The vaccination dilemma and fact checking

Now with the approval of the COVID vaccine for ages 12 and up, there are a lot of rumors circulating within the teen community about possible side effects. I think most rumors stem from fear, bias and political views.

The last year and a half has revealed a lot about us humans. Our views on pretty much anything are defined by the people we hang out with or our political affiliations. My mom told me when I was very young that “you are what you read and the people you hang out with” which I think she took from a quote by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones:

“Five years from today, you will be the same person that you are today, except for the books you read and the people you meet.”

I think that’s very true. Many people I know are afraid of the vaccination because someone in their social network told them that the vaccination may cause infertility or that the government is implanting micro trackers through the vaccination. I like to research my concerns through evidence from authentic sources, a good practice I learned at school. It is always a good idea to fact check and not blindly follow or believe in theories. Everyone has an opinion for sure but not all opinions are based off of facts. It is in our best interest to verify claims before we pass them on.

As far as the vaccination is concerned, please review blogs from nationally renowned healthcare systems to understand medical facts. Understand that a young teenager like me cannot possibly have the experience or qualifications to decipher medical processes so instead of taking advise from someone like me, please check out authentic information and then make your decision.

Finally, before you dwell in stereotypes and block any learning or information, open your mind! Remember that your mind is like a parachute. It works best when it’s open.

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Lend your ears

Adults sometimes feel that by their positions in the family hierarchy they have the right to speak, direct and instruct. As a teenager, I value the quality time I get from my parents and I recognize the privilege of their collective wisdom, experience and intentions.

Sometimes, however, adults forget to listen.

Listening is a key component of building solid relationships. Most teenagers are drowned in school work, jobs, peer pressure, temptations, exploration of their own minds.

Schools offer so many options that the plethora of choices is more confusing than exciting. Why is one type of Chemistry class better than the other, for example? Why can’t I just do 10th grade Math in 10th grade? Why do I need to attend 6 classes a day? Then we decide to grow up a little and get jobs but soon realize that no one taught us how to balance checkbooks or make direct deposits or for that matter, create bank accounts! I was fortunate to get help in writing a resume and I am blessed to have a working printer with ink at home. But can you imagine the pressure of a teenager who doesn’t have that kind of support? More often than one would like to admit, parents like their children to be involved in sports and extra curricular activities with every moment of the day filled up and hardly any room to breathe. Sometimes, we don’t even want to pursue those activities but we are thrown into them to get “exposure” or to nurture a passion…usually not ours.

So when your teen looks troubled or resorts to her DMs for emotional support, don’t jump to conclusions that the technology beast has taken over their life! Please ask. And listen.