Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think Of The Children???

First off, I don’t have kids, nor do I ever want them.

In fact, if I’m to be brutally honest, I’d have to say that I generally despise the smarmy little buggers (with the exception of the kith and kin of a few friends or relatives of mine, that is).  For comfort’s sake I usually prefer to keep a fair amount of distance between me and the lot of them with their bad manners, foul mouthes, entitled attitudes, short attention spans and constant orbit of gadgets and technology (/rant).

That being said, there’s been a lot of talk about children in the media lately.  There’s plenty of discussion surrounding the obesity epidemic that’s facing their generation and how as a society we need to focus our energies to improve and shift their current fate.  Mrs. Obama has her Let’s Move initiative, Alice Waters has the Edible Schoolyard program,  and Jamie Oliver’s recent TED Prize wish was to teach every child about food.  Of course, that’s merely a sprinkling of the many projects attempting to tackle this multi-faceted problem, but these 3 just happen to be some of the most highly visible.

On the surface they all sound like rather noble causes, and certainly there is a degree of credibility behind the idea of educating children about food and exercise in order to stem the tides of an obesity related epidemic.

And anyone who has seen the promo clip of Oliver’s upcoming show (specifically the kids that don’t know the difference between potatoes and tomatoes at around 1:16 in the video) should be able to grasp the positive ramifications when kids get switched on about food.

However, the point where I often find myself flummoxed is when people start talking about banning, outlawing, taxing or restricting certain foods deemed to be “unhealthy” from school premises  in order to achieve that goal.

I find this proposition difficult to swallow for 2 reasons;

Firstly, anyone who has ever spent any amount of time with a child (regardless of age) knows that as soon as you refuse them access to something, you inevitably make it seem irresistible in their eyes.  Remove sodas, candies and sugary snacks and all of a sudden you’ve got kids clamouring for them even more so than they already do now.  Not to mention the potential for “black market” trading of said contraband goods – if kids really want it, they’ll always find a way.

Secondly, I really don’t understand why schools should be involved in feeding kids to begin with.  As a parent, why would you ever want to entrust the health and welfare of your darling dear to another person that most likely doesn’t have their best interests at heart?  Heaven knows you can’t be there for your children 24 hours a day to protect them from the so-called evils of food, but instead of leaving them to fend for themselves in a cafeteria, you could (novel idea alert) prepare a meal for them yourself.  Perhaps there is just a fundamental difference between schools in Canada and the US, but when I was in school (and I attended in 3 different provinces over the years) none of the institutions prepared food or even had a cafeteria on-site until I got to high school, and even then it was just a small snack bar.  The line where food met school was explicitly defined as the occasional sponsored pizza or hotdog “treat” day, but that was it.  At what point did it become acceptable to completely outsource the care of society’s children to lunch ladies, yet still be able to level the blame at them when people didn’t have the time or desire to take the matter in hand themselves?

I know it’s been proven that it’s easier for children to learn when they are not hungry, so I do understand the reasoning behind providing the option of food in schools in the event that a child might not be getting it elsewhere, otherwise.  But beyond that sort of specific scenario, if parents are really that concerned about the food their kids are eating, they need to make an effort to educate them one on one as well.  You can’t rear a child on a steady diet of crap at home and then expect them to easily pick up healthy attitudes solely from programs at school.  Attitudes towards food are learned behaviours, and if you set a decent example for your children at home, you leave them in better stead to avoid all of that other crap when they are out in the real world.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that where they need to apply it the most?

Until next time…

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One Response to “Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think Of The Children???”

  1. [...] protect the health of children through banning/taxing junk food and ensure healthy school lunches, or should parents just get their shit together and make their kids a healthy brown-bagged lunch? [Foodie and the [...]

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