Germ-X Generation.

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The world works in a very specific way.  There’s a definite plan in how things should go.

If certain things don’t happen, it is very likely the Earth will spin off its axis and slam right into a 1998 Ford Focus.

And none of us want that (especially if the Focus isn’t insured).

Dogs are supposed to bark at cats.  The Chicago Cubs are supposed to disappoint their fans each summer.  Gas prices are supposed to rise for no apparent reason 4 days before a holiday.

And most importantly, junior high boys, without exception, are supposed to push each other for no other reason than they are junior high boys.

Truth be Told, I'm a Big Fan of the Germ-X.

The universe needs these things to take place. 

This time of year is no different.

It’s fall. Which means certain things are supposed to happen.

Football starts.  The weather gets colder.  Leaves turn colors. And we all get the flu.

That’s how it goes.  That’s how it’s supposed to be. 

Any deviation from this very specific chain of events and we are asking for trouble.

Don’t mess with it and don’t question it.

You cross Mother Nature (or whoever is in charge) and you may get slapped upside the head (don’t kid yourself… Mother Nature has a mean streak).

I’m no doctor, but during this time of year I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to get sick.

It’s our right as _______________ (fill in your country of origin here).

Our children need to get sick.

They have to get sick.

Something about building up their immune systems, so they are stronger and healthier as adults.

When I was a kid (a long time ago in a land far far away), we got sick and we liked it.

Actually, that’s a lie.  We didn’t like it.

Who wants to spend all day at home, lying in bed, not watching TV, years in advance of the invention of video games? 

Not fun.  Not fun at all.

If we were sick, we had to do it quietly and out of sight.

It wasn’t a free day (sometimes our parent yelled at us for being sick… it was a different time…).

So consequently, we wanted to get better and go back to school.

But things are different today.

We live in fear of our children being around germs. 

They drink bottled water as opposed to taking a gulp from the neighbor’s garden hose.

They don’t eat food that has been on the floor for less than 5 minutes (the 5 second rule is for sissies).

We constantly have them washing their hands.

When I was a kid, we washed our hands once a week (if we had time… and the money to afford water).

In today’s world, we do everything in our power so our kids don’t have to suffer. We will go to any lengths to protect them.

From their teachers, principals, peers, own lack of ambition, work, responsibilities… the list goes on and on.

We want them to live in a bubble where nothing can touch them.

Now we are constantly trying to save them from germs.

My concern is how are they going to survive when they are adults.

Germ-X can’t save them from themselves.




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23 Responses to “Germ-X Generation.”

  1. prof post
    on Nov 2nd, 2009
    @ 7:09 am

    Hello Michael,
    Want to introduce my juniors from Trinity to your blog this week. I’d like to get their impressions on germs. I’ve been promising them that they will get exposed to every germ known to man and will inevitiably get sick in their first year of teaching (and until they’ve built up the antibodies that God so graciously instills into our systems). I’ve told them that I’ve only had 2 sick days in 35 years of teaching but right now part of my face looks like I have been in a prize fight from an absessed tooth. The beauty of teaching college is that I only meet with my students on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I can sneak away to see the dentist this morning. But I do have some advisees coming in to today that may think I still have some Halloween makeup on or that I’ve taken up chewing tobacco.

    Thanks for your wonderful thoughts and perspectives from your side of the desk.

  2. Angie
    on Nov 2nd, 2009
    @ 7:34 am

    There’s some great articles in this month’s Mental Floss magazine about how we have obliterated beneficial germs from our bodies in the quest to be clean, suggesting that some diseases are actually a result of us not being dirty enough. Makes me feel good about making my 6 year old take a bath only once a week.

  3. Computer Chick
    on Nov 2nd, 2009
    @ 12:02 pm

    Amen brother. Who growing up in the 70s didn’t hear “You’re not that sick, get your clothes on, you’re going!!!”.

  4. Monica D.T. Rysavy
    on Nov 2nd, 2009
    @ 7:16 pm

    Cool blog! I came across your site today and I will keep reading. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jenna Young
    on Nov 3rd, 2009
    @ 10:38 am

    Michael Smith,
    I would have to agree with you on many of the things that you said. Although I woudln’t tell people to stop washing thier hands, I would tell them to stop being babies about germs. I don’t believe in the flu shot, I don’t like using anitbacterial soap, I don’t believe in going to the doctor everytime something doesn’t feel pefect. I believe this because I want my own body to fight it off. I personally believe that is how God intended it to happen. He gave us immune systems for a reason. We can handle it on our own. However, you wont be able to handle it on your own if you don’t give your immune system a chance to fight and do it’s job. I would say to the people who are taking these procautions: you think that your helping yourself, but I believe that your just hurting yourself in the long run. People can take all of their procautinos, but as for me: I’ll take a day off with the flu.

  6. Lauren Gattuso
    on Nov 3rd, 2009
    @ 3:14 pm

    I am one of the students in Prof. Post class and after reading this I just cringed especially because of the new version of the flu that is now out that everyone makes a big deal about, which don’t get me wrong it is a big deal but it is also the flu… my moms a nurse and she told me also die by the stomach flu as well, but thats beside the point. I hate getting sick and I am definitely a germaphobe which is ironic since I love working with special ed kids which occasionally drool on me. I think the reason why most people are a germ x gerneration is because the world is now a day so fast paced and some people tend to think that the whole world will stop running if they don’t show up to work, whereas other people just can’t afford to lose their job in this economy. Sometimes I think that when it comes to kids there is a double motive, parents definitely don’t want their children to suffer, that is a given, but parents also don’t want to have to stay home with a sick kid when they have work and other responsibilities that need to take place. My mom was always loving and caring when she stayed home with me, she is also a nurse so that worked out for my benefit as well. The other thing about protecting kids is that for kids that have disabilities they need extra protection because some of their immune systems are so bad that they can die from getting sick. So, what can you do? I know some people who wash their hands religiously and then I know people that don’t even wash their hands when they come out of the bathroom, which I think is absolutely disgusting. What I find even more interesting is that so many people push the Germ X which they think gets rid of the germs, but instead only kills the weak germs and actually seems to make the strong germs stronger. I’m not going to lie that doesn’t exactly stop me from squirting Germ X into my hands when there is no soap and water because it helps me feel germ free… it is definitely a psychological issue.

  7. Michelle Svendsen
    on Nov 4th, 2009
    @ 2:29 pm

    Dear Mr. Smith,
    I am a student at Trinity Christian College and I would have to agree with everything you said. Kids are living in a bubble these days and are never exposed to germs in public places. But these public environments are going to help develop and build up their immune systems. So if we keep them away from these germs, children’s immune systems will have no way of developing. Now the children will be more susceptible to infections. Then when these children get sick, their parents take them to the doctor for every little thing and they get prescribed antibiotics. Taking a lot of antibiotics will weaken the immune system even more and then the children will get sick again. It’s a vicious cycle where people with weak immune system get over-prescribed with antibiotics. If we keep doing what we’re doing, people will become resistant to medication. What happened to getting sick once a year and just sleeping it off in bed?

  8. Kathy Hossink
    on Nov 4th, 2009
    @ 8:40 pm

    Dear Mr. Smith,
    I am also a student at Trinity Christian College, and would also like to agree with your statements. In one on the schools that I’m currently teacher aiding in, the children are constantly putting hand sanitizer on. This seems so strange to me. My schools never had hand sanitizer dispensers in them, and I was never a child who cared about germs, or even thought about them for that matter. The human body is pretty resilient and I don’t think it’s necessary to always be worrying about every little germ that might get us sick. I hear about parents that take their children to the doctor when they have the flu or even the slightest cough. I always find this funny because I was never brought to the doctor when I was sick as a child. I was always told that it just needed to run its course… and it always did! Sure, we need to use good hygiene and do what we can to not spread germs if we know we’re sick, but I personally think that a lot of people today get carried away. Typically it’s the people who are the most paranoid about germs that end up getting sick the most often.

  9. Laura Roose
    on Nov 5th, 2009
    @ 9:02 am

    Hello Michael,
    Thanks for your insightful post. It is very thought provoking. Although I agree that my generation is becoming a “germ-o-phobe’ generation, I do not think this is a bad thing. In fact, I think the “germ-x” craze has just started this year due to the HINI flu. Yes our students will not be as exposed to as many antibodies and therefore their immune system might be a little weaker, but there is something to argue that because they are healthy they may never miss a day of school. In this time of trying to meet the annual goals, every school day is crucial. I think because of our precious schooling time, it is perfectly ok to be “germ-x” crazy. We need our students in class as much as they can so we can make our AYP.

  10. Melissa Voss
    on Nov 5th, 2009
    @ 9:04 am

    I would have to say that I am probably old school on this issue as well. Up until the recent discovery and fright over the swine flu, I didn’t notice the attention that was being given to germs. This year I really started to notice it after seeing that in all my classes, in the cafe, and just about anywhere where there is potential for germs to linger, there is Germ-X or antibacterial hand sanitizer. I am not someone that gets sick very often so I am by no means a germaphobic. I do think that our generation does pay attention to germs more than in past years, and I do think that it may be a little obsessive. However, I do not think that it is entirely bad. I think that it is important to be aware of what you are touching and what you do with your hands after you touch things. It is important to be aware of germs but is also important for your body to be able to fight off germs too.

  11. Brie Assink
    on Nov 5th, 2009
    @ 5:27 pm

    Your blog definitely made me laugh out loud with the hilariousness (is that a word?!) of the truthfulness of your statements. We try to protect kids from so much these days, and honestly, I’m not sure how much it is actually helping. When kids aren’t exposed to various things, they become more dangerous (for example, developing allegries or what not), I would say antibacterial hand sanitizer isn’t always effective because, not only does it kill good bacteria as well, but people are more susceptible to germs after they have been using it constantly and randomly stop or something. Thank you for your insights! :)

  12. Jessica Kamp
    on Nov 8th, 2009
    @ 9:27 pm

    Can I just say that I completely agree with everything that you have written in this blog. When I was little my parents never went to great lengths to keep me from getting sick. And now that I am 20 years old I never get sick because my immune system was built up when I was little. I know people that keep their children out of nursery at church because they don’t want them to get sick, but I feel this is harming the child more than helping them. Because someday when that child goes to school or college they are going to get every sickness. I believe children should was their hands, but kids are going to get sick that is a part of life.

  13. Mike Jones
    on Nov 9th, 2009
    @ 11:23 am

    I find myself to be split down the middle on this issue. Although I agree with the point that everyone goes to great lengths to protect the children/students, cant that have some some beinifits to it as well? Just because things were always done a certain way and have always been done that way, does not always mean it is the right or best way. I see the issue of bottled water and Germ-X as basically the same issue for me, I will use either of them if it is convenient, but I try to avoid overusing both and try to keep a good balance when using these products. I know that tap water is good for your teeth so I try and drink that whenever I can, but if it’s more convenient to grab a cold bottle of water out of the cooler at a party, then I will do that. If I’m in a classroom and need to clean my hands, I would prefer to wash them the old fashion way with soap and water, but it can just be so easy to grab a quick aquirt of that Germ-X! So my opinion regarding this issue is that good judgement should be used to have proper balance between hand washing and the convenient squirt of Germ-X.

  14. Luke S.
    on Nov 9th, 2009
    @ 12:12 pm

    You makes some very interesting and funny points in your blog, most of which I laughed at and agree with. I feel that we are going over board protecting out kids from everything now a days but it could just be the result of all parents trying to make life better for their children, than what they had growing up. Its natural for a parent to want the best life for their children, and logically that would include never letting our children get sick or hurt. But this also reminds me of the chick trying to hatch from the egg. If you assist the chick in breaking out, the chick will be not receive the muscle growth needed to survive once out of the egg and will quickly perish. How as parents are we suppose to know when to help our children and when too much help will be detrimental? That is the debate I guess, none will really know in this life time.

  15. Rachel VandeKamp
    on Nov 9th, 2009
    @ 2:32 pm

    I totally agree with this! All the things you said brought me back to my own childhood. Not to mention my mom was a nurse so we pretty much had to be dead to be able to stay home, or let alone go to the doctors :) I think we are relying too much on germ-x and other substances like that to keep our kids healthy rather than the amazing immune system God gave each one of us. By constantly killing off germs, we’re not allowing our bodies to do what it does naturally and best- fight off diseases! I understand to some extent trying to keep your kids healthy by giving them orange juice to assist in the vitamin c intake during a cold or insisting that they eat some sort of fruits and veggietables, but we can’t keep them safe forever. Inevitibly, children WILL get sick and when they do, because they will, how their body is able to respond is everything,

  16. Margaret Miller
    on Nov 9th, 2009
    @ 3:12 pm

    Hi Mr. Smith,
    I also agree with everything you said and definitely found myself laughing out loud at certain parts because it is so true! When I was younger I was playing outside with my neighbors any chance I had and we were always getting dirty in some way. The young neighbors I have now do not seem to be out as much as my neighbors and I were when we were younger, and their playing outside does not include digging in the dirt for worms and rollie pollies like it was for us. When I would get sick with a fever I remember my mom giving me 7-Up and then just telling me to rest and “sweat it out.” Today when kids are sick their parents give them medicine or take them to the doctor and do not let their bodies naturally fight off the sickness. I think this is bad for kids today because when they go away to college and live in a dorm with 50 plus others and share a bathroom with many people they will be the first to get really sick!

  17. Jori Dotson
    on Nov 9th, 2009
    @ 4:34 pm

    I definitely agree that lately germs have become a big issue. Ever since the out break of swine flue, keeping away germs has been everyone’s number one priority. Hand Sanitizer is now a must in almost every classroom. Teachers are having their students use hand sanitizer after they touch almost anything. Although I agree that people have gone way overboard in trying to keep away germs, staying clean is never a bad thing. Washing your hands and keeping yourself sanitized are important, especially in a school. Germs are spreading like wild fire inside of a school and trying to prevent the studnets from getting sick is never a bad idea. There are definitely some good points made in this article and it really isn’t necessary to stress germs as much as we do today. However, keeping the students healthy should be very important to every teacher.

  18. Jori Dotson
    on Nov 9th, 2009
    @ 4:41 pm

    You make some very good points in this article. Every since the out break of swine flu, keeping away germs and staying sanitized has become the top priority of everyone. Hand sanitizer has become a necessity in almost every classroom. Teachers are requiring their students to sanitize or wash their hands after they touch almost anything. Germs are definitely a bigger concern than they were in the past. Teachers are worried about themselves or the students getting sick. I definitely agree with the points that you have made in this article that people are stressing germs too much. However, I think that washing your hands and staying sanitized really isn’t a bad thing. Keeping the students healthy should be a main priority of any teacher.

  19. Kathy Urbanowicz
    on Nov 9th, 2009
    @ 4:54 pm

    After reading your article I agree that child these days tend to be overly protected by their parents. As a child, I rarely washed my hands….I don’t even think hand sanitizer existed at that time…I didn’t end up in the hosiptal or anything in that sort…it seems as if parents are not letting their children build a proper immune system and that is why children tend to get sick more often. I understand that parents want the best for their children but keeping them away from germs is only going to hurt them in the long run.

  20. Kaitlyn Knudtson
    on Nov 9th, 2009
    @ 8:33 pm

    I definitely agree with you on this topic. I enjoyed reading this article and I do have a few things to say about this.
    First off, I personally do not and will not use Germ X hand sanitizer. I just feel that washing your hands does alot more good for you.
    The school that I am teacher aiding at is constantly using hand sanitizer. We have seriously like a bottle at each desk. The teacher and kids put it on so many times. I can see why, but I don’t think it is necessary. If you need to go wash your hands. For all we know, putting on hand sanitizer could be germing up your hands instead of cleaning them. I know that research has been done to prove it good, but I have a hard time with that. I have a hard time doing something just because it is supposed to be good for you. If I can get away with just washing my hands with soap and water without getting sick, I would rather do it. I am thinking that some people are just overly cautious when it comes to getting sick, especially now. If you wash hands enough, drink alot of water, cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing, take a vitamin then you will be fine. I have never used Germ X and I rarely ever get sick. You just need to know how to not get sick. Germ X won’t save you!

  21. Courtney Kats
    on Nov 9th, 2009
    @ 8:57 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with your posting, today’s world is obsessed with germs and getting rid of them. I like to be clean dont get me wrong, but we take things to an extreme. My parents and grandparents have told me so many stories about the past, and they never worried about sanitizing with Lysol and Clorox wipes, and carrying around hand sanitizer bottles. They would wash the tables with a wash cloth or sponge, and wash their hands when convenient like Michael said. They were fine, they were not suffering anymore from the flu anymore than we do today. The news, media, and word of mouth tends to scare us more than necessary. These are the times I hate the internet and fast spreading news, it turns things into epidemics quickly. Like now we are all freaking out over H1N1, when I know more than a handful of people who have gotten it and said it was not any different than the normal flu. We have to live life and let be, we can take precautions but we do not need to set up a germ-x force field of protection and tell kids to not touch others because of fear of what sickness they might get. If the world survived things in the past with less worry, I think we should be more than capable of doing that now.

  22. Megan V
    on Nov 10th, 2009
    @ 8:46 am

    Hey Michael, I totally agree with you about germs in today’s society. People freak themselves out for the fear of germs affecting their bodies. But the truth is that some germs are good for our bodies. I think it helps our body’s immune system to have germs in our body to help fight other germs. I think the fact that we are so scared of these germs — makes children more sick these days. I do think it is important to make sure your hands are washed and clean, but I think it is wrong to obsess about the cleanliness of the world around us. Children are meant to explore and be dirty and eat things off the floor. I say why can’t kids be kids. Let them do things and learn for themselves. Our society needs to break out of the ‘box’ we are containing our children in and let them be open to the world around them.

  23. Erika Naugle
    on Mar 13th, 2010
    @ 2:40 pm

    Hello Michael,
    Thanks for your post, It is thought provoking and as a teacher something I have given much though to. I see it in my classroom daily we are raising a generation of “germ-o-phobe’ kids. Immune systems are weaker, and children in general are. I remember taking some tumbles, scrapping elbows and knees, and my mom telling me to brush it off (with dirty hands) and to keep going. I see kids falling and parents running to their side with a anti-bacteria wipes, some ointment and a band aide. I am concerned that we are raising a generation of softies, who will fall apart when life gets tough.

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