Writer & Eternal Student

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[They Say]

Being Told vs. Discovering

Published: May 20, 2013

Every parent knows that no matter how much you try to protect your child by sharing your wisdom and experience, your child has to discover things the hard way. No matter how many times you guide them and explain the possible outcome of their current behavior, it doesn’t sink in until they’ve made a mess of things and come to you for help.

Unfortunately, as we age we lose that hard-headedness and need for self-discovery. We eventually believe what we’re told and behave accordingly. We veer so far away from self-discovery that we begin to believe strangers. We blindly follow the lead of people we don’t know and who don’t necessarily have our best interests in mind.

Your Morning Routine

When you got up this morning and made your routine trip to the bathroom, what type of toothbrush and toothpaste did you use? Is it one of the popular brands that claim to prevent cavities, whiten your teeth and reduce sensitivity? Is your toothbrush a high-powered electric device or the kind with an angled head to make brushing the back teeth more efficient? Your mouthwash, does it make your breath kissable fresh and kill bacteria? Is it the strong minty fresh scent or the hard-working nasty tasting antiseptic kind?

Let’s get out of the mouth and onto the face. What kind of soap, astringent, shaving cream, lotion, and/or moisturizer do you use? What claims have the manufacturers made that enticed you to purchase those products? Do the products live up to their claims?

I could continue on to your other toiletries such as deodorant, hair spray, shampoo, conditioner and so on, but I won’t. I think you get my point.

Advertising is Telling

Manufacturers and advertising firms tell you what to buy. They create a perceived need and then provide a solution to the need. They flood the market with similar products so the consumer believes he has options and is making his own decision as to which product to purchase. Unfortunately, he is not. The deck is stacked against him.

Let’s take toothpaste for instance. Go to your grocery store (or medicine cabinet) and read the ingredients on the back of the box. The ingredients are pretty much the same. Some add a little more of this ingredient or a little less of that ingredient so they can make a slightly different claim. Bottom line, they have unhealthy ingredients in them.

The ingredients are so toxic that most toothpaste boxes provide a warning for children under 6 to only use a pea-sized amount of the product. C’mon. Try convincing a child to use only a pea-size of their favorite bubblegum flavored toothpaste. Additionally, some boxes have the warning not to swallow the toothpaste. If accidentally swallowed, call the poison control center.

Now tell me, as a prudent parent, would you knowingly purchase a product that could poison your child? If you still had your child-like curiosity and lived life through self-discovery, would you really buy the toothpaste currently sold in grocery stores with their toxic warning labels? I don’t think so.

You were told what to purchase. You didn’t use your inquisitive, curious nature. The advertising companies created a need and the answer to that particular need was their toxic toothpaste.


Part of my journey is to recapture my child-like curiosity. I’m learning to question everything I’m told, and I mean everything! I no longer use commercial toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, lotions, cleaning supplies, etc. etc. Once I started to think like a child, I made child-like discoveries. My discoveries told me to stop using a variety of commercial products.

These discoveries didn’t happen all at once. One discovery led to another and then another and then another. It’s a journey. I encourage you to rekindle your inner child. Question everything and accept nothing at face value.

When I get around to publishing a newsletter, I’ll share some of the recipes I use to replace commercial products.

About the Author: I am Felicia A. Williams, a wife, mom, grandma, writer and eternal student.

Last Modified: 25 November 2020

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