Good for My Kids, But Not for Yours

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Dear Moms of the World,

As we battle daily for all that is good for our kids, I have recently discovered a great disparity in our thinking. For many of us, we are mindful and cognizant of what we value in life. Our values are the foundation for our behavior. So, for example, if I value having fun in life, I’m going to do things that will bring a smile to my face and laughter to my heart, all the while making lasting memories.

If I value a clean bottom for myself and my kids, then we must learn to wipe well and make sure the TP is well-stocked. Values drive behavior, and behavior, culture. Let’s take this to task: The School Carnival.

So we’re straight, I do not abhor the thought of a school carnival. They make a lot of money for great after-school programs, equipment and curriculum purchases, and sending teachers to training and conferences. They create a neighborhood atmosphere that is fun, inclusive, fairly cheap (depending on how much you spend, of course), and allows families to spend time together.

But…why do we sell out our values for a dollar? I heard recently that a Mom in charge of a school carnival was deeply offended at the request to ensure healthy options be sold as part of the concessions. This situation intrigues me greatly. The value at play here is nutrition. Typical fare at a school carnival includes snow cones, cotton candy, pizza, pretzels-as-big-as-your-face, buttery popcorn, soda, chips, and hoards of baked goods. All yummy things when eaten in moderation.

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Virginia State Fair, October 2011

Oh, moderation – how you fail us! If society understood moderation, we’d be a lot better off than we are. Beyond moderation is the fact that this carnival-organizing Mom doesn’t let her kids eat the carnival food. WHAT? WHY? Because she values nutrition too, yet scoffs at the idea to simply provide 1 healthy option – an apple, orange, banana, carrot or celery sticks would do. In this whole conversation, the message that gets conveyed is, ” Proper nutrition is good for my kids, but not for yours.” What an arrogant way of thinking that only perpetuates inequity.

Schools are a key venue for childhood obesity prevention practices and policies. I’m asking all you who care about your child’s health and nutrition to also care about their classmates and friends, many of whom are already struggling with overweight or obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or other chronic disease risk factor. And if you don’t care, then get out of the way for those who do.

Fact is, my health affects your health. Your health affects mine. We are in this together, folks. If a core value of motherhood is to raise your kids well by staying mindful of their growth and development, then why do we sacrifice that in the name of fundraising. Certainly we are smart enough, innovative and creative enough, to think differently about the environments we create for our kids. Make the healthy choice the easy choice!

Note: This post is not meant to offend, but simply challenge the status quo for healthier schools, students, families, and communities.

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3 responses »

  1. I totally agree: I see so many parents doing this; they let their kids eat all these bad foods/drinks but they won’t consume these products themselves. It’s a parents responsibility to set a good example and follow through with it. Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:))

    • Thanks! Indeed parents have a huge role to play, but there is a “lost” generation of parents (in my summation) that are disconnected from the value = behavior = culture philosophy. All I’m asking is that healthy options be considered in planning anything, not just at schools. We talk a lot about quality of life and people speak eloquently about planes, trains, and automobiles,economic development, and budgets, yet fail to see that health relates to every decision. I want to be a dot-connector and challenge mediocrity…thanks for your supportive comments!!

  2. Hey, I found your blog on the HK adoption group. I sent you an email but I’m not sure the address is still good. I saw a post that said you’d spent a little time with Naomi at Mother’s Choice in August. We are trying to adopt her and I wondered if you could share anything about her? If you get this message, my email is sethnchelc@yahoo.com

    Thanks!

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