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September 16, 2006

Childcare

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/south_yorkshire/5349392.stm

Don’t you just love blame culture? This modern illness in which everyone and everything else is repsonsible for all the woes which are inflicted upon a person or their family. A trip in the road is a shoddy piece of council maintainence rather than being too immersed in your texting to watch where you’re going. It’s the way things are today, yet no one wants to admit this.

So good on the Great British PublicTM to once again prove how amazing this country can sometimes be when it comes to blaming other people. A school in South Yorkshire has witnessed the parents of children buying food from the local chippie and passing through the school gates to the kids inside. This follows the quest of St Jamie of Oliver to deliver us from fried fat and lard milkshakes as school dinners, thus freeing us from becoming so heavy that we actually cause large portions of the country to subside into the ground. So what’s going on?

Naturally both sides have had their say, but the parents’ main criticisms seem to be that:
  • The children aren’t allowed enough time to eat at lunch (half an hour).
  • The children are no longer allowed off school grounds at lunch.
  • The children don’t like the healthy menu.

Now fair enough, thirty minutes seems like a very short period of time to get and eat food, although it’s worth noting that a lot of jobs only offer a thirty minute lunch break so the kids aren’t facing anything they won’t find themselves up against in the future anyway. As for not being allowed off the grounds well that gets no sympathy from me I’m afraid. At my secondary school only sixth formers had any real freedom to roam outside of the gates. It’s a school, not a youth club, the kids can roam as free as they like after school unless they have more important things to do like eat crisps and watch TV/surf the internet/fester which obviously preclude actual exercise.

But to moan that they don’t like the healthy food? No, I don’t buy it.

Some of the parents maintain that healthy orders were being placed (baked potato, salads) but I bet the majority were chips and fizzy drinks. I have news for these parents – most children don’t like to eat healthy food. They will do anything to avoid it. And it is a parental duty to stand firm and say “tough, that’s your dinner, now eat it or no pudding”. I know loads of people whose parents had to do this. Hell, mine did (oh boy, did I hate eating potatoes). But many of these parents will also moan at anyone else when their children are huge, citing having to hold down their own jobs or the difficulty of dangerous roads and the necessity of driving a child 500m in a 4×4.

Now I’m no Victorian, and think children deserve a lot of respect and basic rights, but they’re not adults, they are not the informed, objective people that can work out that they’re gonna get fat if they eat so much junk. Yes, they know that’s what happens, but they don’t know, don’t register that it could be them. This is why kids climb trees much further than adults do, they haven’t quite grasped the concept that they really could fall from the height.

I’m willing to accept that there’s always the possibility that the food this school serves is rubbish. If this is the case then I suppose it’s not unreasonable for parents to get concerned as their offspring don’t eat (and I suppose the healthy food orders mentioned in the article suggest that some kids are willing to try to eat healthily despite the school). But it’s then surely their duty to take on board the messages which are so loud and clear – fatty foods = fatty and unhealthy kids. It’s a parental duty and not something you can blame on the media or the government or immigrants. Simple as.


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