Education from a different perspective

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Is there a connection between getting an annual physical and education? There is, but before I explain what it is, let me tell you how I made the connection.

Some weeks back, I was talking with a good lawyer friend about the importance of having an annual physical. He’s 52 and never had a physical. I was shocked.  This intelligent man, the guy I go to when I need help with a case, has gone his entire life without a physical. I’ve had one every year since I was about 23. It dawned on me that the difference between us was education.  How so? I’ll explain in a minute.

First, I want to talk about the importance of education when it comes to a significant problem facing Columbus, Ohio. We have a large number of young, inner-city, low income, single women, with little education, sometimes homeless and with no support system, having babies. These women are following the same path their mothers went down.

There’s a group that meets in a church in the Weinland area of Columbus, and its focus is the women I’ve just described. Known as Moms2Be, the group’s first mission is to provide better birth outcomes. Did you know the infant mortality rate for blacks in Ohio is the second worst in the nation?  Moms2Be also tries to encourage these young women to space out their births and raise their sights in terms of going back to school and getting a job.

Moms2Be is led by an always smiling and enthusiastic pediatrician, Patricia Gabbe, M.D. She and her team of nutritionists, nurses, social workers and other professionals meet with these young moms-to-be and provide them with what they never got on their own—education.  I don’t mean formal education, but education in the ways of life. These young women are taught what it takes to produce a healthy baby, how to care for a newborn, why births should be spaced—all the many things most of you learned without realizing it.

You were probably encouraged to stay in school, taught good work habits, warned about how life changing an unplanned pregnancy would be, encouraged to develop your talents, and you were given a secure environment so that you could thrive. All of this is education, just as much as studying algebra is, but you learned these things in the informal setting of a family.

And it’s all these things that the moms at Mom2Be never got when they were growing up.

Now back to the annual physical. The difference between my friend and me is that someone told me about the importance of getting a physical, that someone being the Navy. Being a Naval Flight Officer, I was required to get a physical every year. After investing a considerable sum in my training, the Navy wanted to ensure I stayed healthy. I retired from the Navy years ago, but I still get an annual physical.

Think of every good habit you have, everything you do that serves you well, from table manners to work ethic. Those things didn’t just come to you naturally. Someone led you, someone taught you, someone provided the example. I suppose there is the occasional, extraordinary person who figures life out all by himself, but for most of us mere mortals, it is through guidance and education that we are who we are.

So, when you’re wondering why certain people lag behind others, consider what they might have missed in terms of education.

And by the way, when’s the last time you had a physical?


Jack D’Aurora writes for


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  1. Ron Plymale  November 3, 2014

    Jack: I am now 73. My last complete physical exam was 40+ years ago. I long ago came to terms with my mortality and for myself see no good reason to engage in (often unsuccessful) attempts at early detection. P.s. my father, upon discharge from the navy, did not bother with periodic physicals either

  2. Jeffrey H. Jordan  November 10, 2014

    My doc wants me in every two years, so I have stuck to that routine. Irony was that I had an exam that found me perfectly healthy less than three weeks before I was in the ER with the shingles.


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