When I was in 1st grade I was a slow learner. It was very painful for me to see all of the other kids learn and understand things much more quickly than myself. This is the way I saw it. At our school we read Sam, and Ann books. I was reading in book 2 and many students were in book 10. The smartest kid in the class was in book 23, I was totally amazed someone could be that far a head of the rest of the class. Every time a child would move up to the next book level they would be rewarded with a piece of candy. The day came when I finally moved up to book 3. I was thrilled. My teacher was happy that I finally moved up to a new level. She wanted to give me a piece of candy but she didn’t have anymore. She looked in her desk, and found a piece of gum. She said “Leonard I will give you this stick of gum if you will not chew it until you get home.” I agreed. Soon it was recess and I thought no one will know I am chewing gum. I did the deed, I opened the stick of gum, and started chewing it. When I was in line to come in from recess a teacher spotted my crime, chewing gum. I was asked immediately to spit it out, and write “I will not chew gum in school.” I wrote this during my next recess.
My connection with gum, and trouble continued this same year. I came home from the store with my dad when he discovered I had taken a pack of gum. It was very obvious when he saw me chewing gum. We rarely had gum at our house. My dad put two and two together knowing we were just at the store. Once again I was guilty of a crime involving gum. My punishment was I had to talk to the store manager, and pay him for what I had taken. When you correct mistakes it leaves a very strong impression on you. I am very thankful for a dad that made sure it is important to make good choices.
Now, fast forward 45, years I am working in a school. When the students are given gum before they take the big year end test to see how much they learned. I am thinking to myself “What are the teachers thinking, don’t they know this is against the rules.” I was told there was a study showing that peppermint helps keep students alert with better memory recall. The gum was to help boost the test scores
My memory of gum got me thinking about double standards. On one hand gum was bad don’t chew gum at school, and don’t take gum without paying for it. On the other hand gum was good, it helped students be more alert, and have better recall during a big test. I think we are all guilty of double standards at one time or another.
My grandpa and grandma lost their oldest child to a drug overdose when he was seven. My uncle was given an adult prescription that killed him. As a result of this experience my grandpa became a pharmacist. My grandpa had a double standard. He said “drugs are to sell not to take. I grew up with this philosophy. I think many people have a double standard with prescription drugs as well. Some people wonder why their children are using illegal drugs when they had lots of practice taking legal drugs in the early years of their life.
I think we have many great advances with drugs, and science. Many people are alive today because of prescription drugs. On the other hand, how many of us take medicine like candy because our back hurts or we have a headache. Our society has conditioned us to use this double standard, and quick fixes in our lives.
When I get a headache I will first drink a tall glass of water. If that does not work I will find an essential oil to rub on my forehead. About 95% of the time this works for me. My last resort is taking an over the counter drug. Many people take prescriptions, and over the counter drugs, not even realizing the negative effects they can have on our bodies. If you have a choice between a convenient pill and a healthy alternative, lets choose healthy over convenience. Let’s start being more proactive with our health by removing double standards and start living again.