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I may be the only person around who actually loves Mondays! I look forward to it all weekend, because I go to school on Mondays. Okay, I’m not actually a student, but I go visit and help in all of my kids’ classrooms every week. I start in 9th grade Ancient History. Why wasn’t I taught history this way (or maybe I should ask why I didn’t pay attention!)? It’s fascinating! When I told Josh, one of my 14 year olds, that I was going to spend Monday mornings in his class, he exclaimed, “When I’m your age, I’m never going back to school!”. Well, when he’s my age he might change his mind. Just listen to what I learned this week!
His teacher was talking about Ancient Egypt, and said that historians have never found evidence that Egypt had a police force or written laws. How in the world did they keep the peace?? Well, he said they governed themselves through customs. Okay, I may be losing you here, but I promise I have a point! One of the students asked him to define custom, and he came up with an impressive definition…that I can’t remember. Basically, it’s something that people commonly do, but it’s not because there is a law to tell them to do it.
He gave the example of Halloween. He asked if it was a holiday. The class was divided – some said yes and some said no. Those saying no were right – it is not a “holiday”, because a holiday is defined as a legal holiday recognized by our government. Halloween is a custom. We all celebrate it on October 31st, we decorate in orange and black, we go trick or treating, we go to scary haunted houses (I don’t particularly like this part of the custom), but no one has told us this is what we should do or when we should do it. Some interesting facts he shared – Halloween is second, behind Christmas, for the amount of decorations and the amount of money people spend. All for a custom. He asked the class what happens in Utah when Halloween falls on a Sunday. We all knew the answer – everyone trick or treats on Saturday. No one tells us to do it, we just know that’s what we will all do. It’s a long-standing custom.
So that got me thinking. What other things do we do that are just customs? Are there things in dentistry that are customs that perhaps aren’t serving us well anymore? I thought of a few:
Hopefully you learned a thing or two – about dentistry, or maybe just about Ancient Egypt and Halloween! Enjoy the non-holiday this week, and be smart about the candy. Try to limit the sticky stuff and candy they suck on for a long time – those are the two that damage teeth the most. My kids are trading in their candy for legos and money this year. I will gladly take it off of their hands! Be safe and have a happy Halloween!
Dr. Michelle Jorgensen