Dear June: Vaccines and Friendship Bracelets

Photo by Zouny

Dear June,

Thanks for a great website. I recommend it everywhere I go. It’s been a fun adventure to watch it take off! I have a question for you. I have a friend who is always in my face about vaccines. She doesn’t believe in them and I do. How can I politely explain that I am doing what I believe is right for us? She is a family friend and not one that I can easily avoid. But she is very bold and abbrasive about her positions.”

–M. T., MI

Dear M. T. from Michigan,

Thank you for your kind words about this site. I assure you, it has been as much an adventure for me as anyone else. I anticipate many more years of learning together!

Kudos to you for caring about your friendship. Our paramount responsibility–as you obviously recognize–is not to win debates, but to love our neighbor as ourself. As I have been in similar situations–over a variety of topics–I have found it easiest to clearly communicate that I love my friend and her commitment to doing what she believes is best. Sometimes straightforwardly saying something like, “Let’s agree to disagree on this one” is the best road to take. At other times, when conscience dictates that we comment, a response guided by compassion is still the key.

No doubt your friend is passionate about this topic for a specific reason. Giving her a listening ear and asking thoughtful questions will not hurt you–and will, perhaps–find the same response when you are given the opportunity to talk.

We can even discuss the possibility of not giving vaccines to children because we’ve long forgotten the dangers of contracting the deadly diseases they prevent. Our generation is decades removed from the devastation of childhood death by most of what the vaccines exist to shield us from. For that, we can be thankful.

So much food for thought. Until we find the answers–and even afterward–keep loving your friend!

Comments

  1. Dear MT,
    As a parent who lives in the autism world and sees all sides of this debate often, I have a suggestion to add. I am guessing your friend is vehement because she loves you and is in her mind trying to protect you. So to add to Trisha's great suggestion about "let's agree to disagree", you may want to say… "I really appreciate your watching out for us. I know you want the best. Our family has decided…You are important to me, so can we agree to disagree?" That may disarm her, as she probably gets a lot of heat for her opinions.

    Dear Trisha–great job.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Trish,

    I couldn't agree more. Your post hit the nail on the head. Compassion, compassion, compassion. Nice post tonight.

    Melinda M.

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