My son is working on a “family health tree” project for health class. It’s similar to a regular family tree, but includes health information such as who smokes/smoked, who has/had high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc.

On Labor Day, while we had family gathered, Taylor and I went around and asked everyone questions such as “Have you ever had cancer?” “How about mental illness?”

It made us very popular.

Especially funny was when I asked my sister M.-in front of our mother- what age she started smoking. My mom has always insisted she was older, but I knew she started in middle school. Her answer? 14.

(Okay, so maybe she was a freshman, but I really think she smoked semi-regularly when she was in 7th and 8th, it only became an ingrained habit when she was 14!)

14? Shit, that’s the same age as Taylor! I can’t imagine him smoking and my not knowing.

The project includes a paper and a poster and is graded on a rubric based upon the amount of information you have gathered. We, unfortunately, have a pretty darn healthy family, so I’m beginning to think maybe we should make up some maladies!

For myself:
Tanorexia (only funny if you could see my paleness!)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (My car alone is proof that I have no obsessive cleanliness rituals, I do, however, wash my hands quite a bit!)

For my husband:
West Nile Virus
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Human Papilloma Virus

Of course, if the project went beyond three generations, we would have more data, because, as my dad said to me:

“If you take after your mom’s side of the family you probably have about another 20 good years ahead of you.”

Her parents and siblings have largely kicked the bucket in their mid-50’s or younger. Crazily young, now that I am in my upper 30’s!

My dad’s family has had better luck, largily living into their 70’s. I guess that means my dad has “Another ten good years ahead of him!”


7 Responses to “shortjevity?”

  1. Ms. PH Says:

    That’s an interesting project. What do they do for the adopted children? Many do not have good data on their family health history and have no reliable way to get it.

  2. Jennifer Says:

    There was a note on the project for “Interesting families” regarding people that are adopted and they could request a different project or do it about their adopted family (because some things like obesity or high cholesterol may have botha genetic component and a lifestyle component and they are supposed to write about health habits in part of the paper).
    I think the odd part is that you have to put everyone’s full names. Would Aunt Gertrude really want everyone to know she is an alcoholic? I mean, geesh, this is a SMALL town!

  3. Ms. PH Says:

    LOL – “interesting families”

    That made me laugh.

    The full name stuff sounds more like small town dirt-digging to me. Think of the dirt the teacher has on all the students’ families!! Can you imagine?

    “Oh, yeah . . . little Jane over there . . . poor thing! Her granddad drank himself to death and was fat too! And her mom’s sister has a shopping addiction and cervical cancer. Oh my!”

  4. Rixblix Says:

    Wow! We don’t even sign the medical release that the school asks for during registration because it’s none of their business. I can’t imagine a project like this! I’d make fake names.

  5. jenjw4 Says:

    I know, I thought it was very odd, especially since all of the info is on a poster that they hang up in the classroom or hallway! Sometimes I wonder about their school-sort of small town clueless about things… like they sing Christian songs at Xmas and Easter, don’t have sex ed… etc…

  6. kel Says:

    When M was 14, she was in 8th grade. I was in school with her at that time. She was a 15 yr old freshman. So yeah she probably did start smoking in 7th grade.

  7. kel Says:

    Did you tell Tay that alcoholism and depression run in our family?

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