by Lory Laughter, RDH, BS
Great lessons can be gleaned from fairy tales and nursery rhymes. While we suppose these are written for children, the messages speak loudly to adults. From “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty,” we learn that a kiss at the right moment can be life saving. “Cinderella” proves that a new pair of shoes makes all the difference. “Humpty Dumpty” reminds us that not all endings are happily ever after, and “Ring Around the Rosie” shows that everyone can (and does) fall down.
My favorite teaching story is, by far, “The Three Little Pigs.” This tale can be related to most situations in life and is particularly fitting to the profession of dental hygiene. With a few slight changes in characters, important lessons are taught by the most unassuming of creatures.
In the dental hygiene version of this tale, the pigs set out to make a life on their own. Each has been taught the skills necessary to survive, and the possibilities are endless. The first pig enrolls in community college. After two grueling years of required courses, she is accepted into the dental hygiene program. She studies hard and graduates at the top of the class. This pig pays an agency to create the perfect resume and hires an interview coach. A job offer comes almost immediately for this well-prepared candidate.
Never satisfied with the status quo, the first pig strives daily to improve her clinical skills and scientific knowledge. She spends hours researching and debating with the best intellectual minds. This amazing creature becomes a dentist and professor. She starts her own television show which leads to untold wealth. Pig #1 does very well for herself, indeed. Her house is built of bricks.
Pig #2 attends the same school as his sister. He creates a very good resume and uses his own personality to land a very good position with a dentist near his family home. Pig #2 attends continuing education events as often as possible and reads all professional magazines from cover to cover — on the day they arrive. He joins the ADHA and state organization and becomes very active in trying to protect the profession.
This is the pig who wears “I Love Floss” apparel and has a supply of oral hygiene aids handy at all times. He is well known throughout the dental hygiene community as proven by his 785 Facebook friends: all listing dental hygiene as their career, job, and life’s passion. He stays with the same employer for many years and is an excellent clinician. His house is built of sticks.
The third pig also graduates along with her siblings and passes the necessary exams. She moves to a community by the beach where she dreamed of living as a child. It takes her a few months to find employment as a dental hygienist so she makes ends meet as a local tour guide — something she still does for school groups in her spare time.
Pig #3 joins her professional organizations and is an active member. She also belongs to a book club, crocheting group, and the scuba diving team. This pig attends continuing education seminars with her brother, equally enjoying the classes and the socializing. She knows her science and also the names of her neighbors. Occasionally, she has to remind herself to not talk fluoride at every PTA meeting — instead she shares her Jell-O recipe. Some say, “Her home is built of straw.”
Finally, the wolf shows up with the fury of a tornado. No pig’s house is spared. When the storm is over, each pig assesses the damage. Pig #1 searches for her money. Pig #2 can’t find his computer database of dental hygiene acquaintances. Pig #3’s cell phone will not stop ringing with offers of shelter, food, and friendship.
Our careers are important. Getting involved and making a difference in the future of our profession is rewarding and essential. A well-rounded life with friends who know your needs, desires, and dreams is priceless.
About the Author
Lory Laughter, RDH, BS, divides her full-time clinical practice between general and periodontics practice in Napa and Sonoma, Calif. She is co-owner of Dental IQ, a continuing education provider responsible for bringing quality courses and speakers to the entire dental team. Lory is also the dental relations manager for Nuvora Inc. You may contact her at [email protected] or through www.dentaliq.net.