December is Awareness of Awareness Months Month. Seriously? When I read this on our Tuesday Ten Facebook Page, I thought, “Surely you must be joking.” A quick google search verified this “new” awareness month and solidified my idea that the world really has gone crazy. I am all for awareness of causes and conditions that plague our society, but Awareness Months might not be the best solution (especially if we have a month to be aware of awareness months). Here’s why:
- Once we breach into celebrating awareness months, we are no longer aware of any of the causes we claimed to support in the previous months.
- When a cause or condition is truly important to you, you don’t need a month dedicated to it. Your life and passion will reflect that and everything you do will be raising awareness. For example, my children are allergic to peanuts. Everything I do is about keeping them safe. I take a “just in case” meal or bring a safe food item to every gathering. I don’t let anyone give them candy or food without my approval. Dietrich is much better about this than Madilynn (because she’s three and he’s seven). I have to be vigilant because My Kids Lives Matter.
- Awareness months only raise awareness briefly (for about a month), then the general public moves on to the next thing. We are child welfare people and April is Child Abuse Prevention month. Though I can’t find supporting data, our experience is that more cases of Abuse are reported during the time of “increased awareness” than other times. Some of these cases have more substance than others. Generally speaking, people seem inclined to see the signs of abuse everywhere right after learning about them. I do think protecting children is important, but we have to balance our “something’s going on with this kid” with common sense. I do know that’s not an easy job because my husband does it daily. (April is also the Month of the Military Child, but I don’t think the two are related).
- Some diseases have no prevention or cure. The purpose of Awareness is then more about education to the masses and begging for more money to research. Both of these areas are not adequately addressed year round, let alone during their awareness campaigns. The education is often put out by those asking for money. Those asking for the research money may be turning a blind eye to solutions that have worked because of Big Pharmacology and FDA regulation. (Just ask my friend who no longer has MS).
- Each month has multiple causes with different color ribbons. How can we really be aware of anything with such a flood of information?
- As great as research and development should be, you can easily find research to back whichever side of a cause you want to support or oppose. This makes awareness a source of argument. I choose to research many sides before forming a stance, but not everyone does that. Some people pick a side, only do that research, then resort to calling anyone who dares to disagree an idiot.
- In promoting your awareness, in hopes of making others aware, you should be aware that not everyone will appreciate your awareness, experience, or opinion. I am sure I don’t agree with everything you say or do all the time. I do expect that we can be grown-ups about it and either open a dialogue or “agree to disagree.” You don’t have to agree with me all the time either, but I’m glad you take the time to read what I have to say anyway.
- Many people live on a tight budget these days. We can’t all be expected to contribute to every cause, company, campaign, or research field. In our family, our primary giving is through our local congregation and then to people we know personally with specific needs. We do more help through service than monetary donation, because we can more easily give of our time in our current stage of life.
- Awareness is not the same as tolerance. My religious beliefs do not make me a bigot. My stance that God is constant comes from Scripture, neither change. I will always call a Sin a Sin. It doesn’t mean I don’t love the sinner- in fact, it means I love them enough not to let them suffer eternal consequences if I am the one God uses to show them Truth.
- What happened to December being all about the birth of Christ and the world being AWARE of His life and how His life matters and makes ours matter? December is a time to celebrate the victories throughout the year, mourn the losses, reflect on areas for improvement, and spend time with loved ones. Those are things I CHOOSE to be aware of this month.
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