Mother: What have you been doing?
M: Don't tell me that. You had another fight, didn't you? Why are you always getting into fights?
B: I dunno.
M: That's not good enough. Just about every other day you come home with a bloody nose and bruises. Is it because of some bully at school?
M: Then, what is it? If you don't tell me I'm going to the school and talk to the principal about it.
B: No, no please don't do that.
M: Then you must tell me.
There's a long silence.
M: Tell me what's wrong.
B: Well -- I got mad at being teased.
M: Teased? About what?
M: Your father? What about him? Why would anyone tease you about your father?
B: Because he's a chiropractor -- they say dad's a quack. He isn't, is he?
M: Well, no, I guess not. Not really. I mean there are a lot of people who don't understand what your father does, so to them he probably is. Between you and me, I wouldn't let your father touch me. When I'm sick, I'll go to a real doctor.
B: What do I do the next time somebody calls dad a quack?
M: Well, it's certainly not worth getting a bloody nose over. Just say you know it. Then they'll probably leave you alone. But remember not to tell your father. You know how upset he gets when we kid him about what he does.
The preceeding might seem a bit of an exaggeration, but unfortunately not as much as one would hope. Not long ago my daughter brought home a friend from school whose father is a chiropractor. When I mentioned this, I expected to see some pride from the little girl. Instead, the remark was greeted with a sneer and, "Oh I can't stand it when he adjusts me."
Then there's a good friend and colleague who is married to a physical therapist who quite frankly will tell anyone willing to listen, what little regard she has for what her husband does. And the DC married to the RN who believes that the answer to all physical or emotional problems is found in prescription drugs.
Now, I'm not suggesting that people should get a divorce or put their children up for adoption if they don't support what they do, but if there is a lack of support it shouldn't be advertised, and some home education about chiropractric might be in order. Too often we take for granted that our families believe in what we do through some form of philosophical osmosis. How many can honestly say that if their children were asked by someone what chiropractic is or what their father or mother does, they would come up with a knowledgeable answer? This is important because our families are often our best form of advertisement.
Let's go back to the beginning and imagine what should be said if your son comes home from school with a bloody nose.
M: Have you been fighting again?
M: You know how I dislike fighting.
B: I know, mom, but this guy said some pretty lousy things about what dad does. I tried to explain about chiropractic and how many people dad has helped over the years, but he wouldn't stop. You always told me to fight back if someone hit me first or to fight to defend the honor of our family.
M: That's right.
B: Anyway the fight didn't last long and soon we were talking. Now he wants to come to the office and look at some x-rays and the equipment I told him about.
Corny? I guess so, but it's a nicer scenario than the first.
More and more practice management organizations are inviting families to come to the seminars to participate. In fact, one of the best has had chiropractic wives (CWs) as an integral part of their function for years. Let's hope that some day there might be chiropractic families (CFs) to strengthen our profession.
Always remember that a structure is only as strong as its foundation and that foundation begins at home.