Yeah. Except it's the ADULTS who are hanging on for dear life... | Do Try This at Home: Yeah. Except it's the ADULTS who are hanging on for dear life...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yeah. Except it's the ADULTS who are hanging on for dear life...


I usually don't like to spend TOO very much time griping, 'cause I dunno...it's a waste of time. But public school offers so MUCH to complain about. I've joined enough committees over the years to know that it's every bit as helpful to site obesity statistics while knocking my head against a brick wall from the comfort of my own home as it is to join a committee, and that probably goes triple for middle school.

The school lunch program is to the Department of Agriculture as nutrition is to _______.

No, no wait, the school lunch programs were originally designed as much to get rid of extra food the Department of Agriculture had lying around as it was to make sure school children were fed. So it makes TOTAL sense that the guys whose job it is to look after farms and farmers be in charge of the school lunch program instead of...ummmm...I dunno a lot about these things but...the Department of Health maybe? Pediatricians? Nutritionists? Ummmm...let's see...who else would have the children's health as number one concern?

OH YEAH! The parents!!!!!! I mean, you'd think so, wouldn't you? But then again, I got this notice from a parent at my daughter's school which implies not only that we should encourage sugar and fat as after school snacks, but that we push them at a frantic pace:
Attention Parents:
The After School Food Sales Committee needs your help! We are looking for new volunteers to help one Friday of each month for 30 minutes. This is an easy volunteer opportunity and only requires you to show up at 3:30 one Friday of each month and frantically sell candy and sodas to students as they exit the building. If you are interested, please email xxxxxx@xxx.com for more details.

Parents in private schools are every bit as enthusiastic about proper nutrition. Years ago my kids' preschool introduced a hot lunch program the parents on the committee were certain the kids would love: McDonald's Happy Meals. They knew the kids would be excited to eat them, and it raised a little money for the school. EVERYONE was happy, especially the producers of Lipitor and Slim Fast.

A few years ago I watched my brother's kids run right past candy and gum ball machines without so much as a glance. "How'd you get away without them begging for candy?" I asked him. It was simple: "They don't know what those are."

Even my own son, who thought prunes were candy until age three, was introduced to candy machines very shortly afterward, uphill battle that it is. Now, let me go see if my kids want some chocolate dessert pizza for breakfast...

20 comments:

Roger said...

When I was a kid I thought sour kraut was desert & some really great toys consisting of sticks, rocks & a flat tire that I had named Firestone. Ah the good old days!!

Disa said...

my lunchbox always lacked the cakes, bags of crisps, chocolate biscuits and 3 sandwiches that others had at lunch. no one was interested in swapping for egg and marmite sandwiches, slices of watermelon or kiwi fruit.

Heather said...

I can't believe that note! That should be sent to Jay Leno! I got into an argument (in the cafeteria) with a former coworker (teacher) over the stale bread our school was graciously given each week! I wouldn't allow my third grade students to cart the crap home with them. To which she attacked my own eating habits and got all crazy saying these children (inner city kids) need treats too! This from the crazy woman who fasts on a loaf of bread! Okay, I'm done now... I know how school lunches can be a sore spot...

Katy said...

The sad thing about that letter, is that if you put out apples and oranges, and some granola bars along side those candy bars and sodas, I'll bet that you have lots left over.

I always try to send the kids with good food for lunch, but it does seem like a losing battle, doesn't it?

delmer said...

Years ago, very close to 36, my dad was helping my uncle put a roof on a house. As they sat perched on the roof they heard the ice cream man coming (the truck played 'Little Brown Jug').

My cousins, probably 8 or 9 at the time, didn't move from the dirt pile they were playing in. When my dad asked why they weren't yelling for ice cream my uncle explained that they had no idea what the music was for.

Nicole said...

Jill, that is absolutely insane. Seriously. That line "at a frantic pace" absolutely killed me.

I'm so sorry, but if my children were exiting a school and on their way home, the last thing I want them to have is SUGAR and soda! What the heck is that lady thinking?

Anyway, I loved your blog!!

ALF said...

my mom never rationed candy, sweets or soda and as a result, I don't even like candy and sweets...I think it's because she never made a big deal about them so I was never much interested in eating them.

toners said...

they'll be moving at a frantic pace after all that soda and candy! what are they thinking?

Jill said...

Roger - I think sticks and rocks were my main toys as a kid...for real...
Okay, well that and gunpowder and whatever food happened to be around...

Disa - I always think my kids' lunches are pretty untradable, but they still manage to trade stuff. I think, "ICK!!!" I don't even know these people - their food might have expired in the 80s or have roach footprints all over it or something. But they let them trade at school. I dunno why.

Heather - so the stale bread was the treat? Yeah, school lunches (well actually food in general) bring out the worst of my crazies.

Katy - Definitely a losing battle. And if they wanted any hope at all, they'd need to put the fruit out WITHOUT the candy next to it. Kids are usually starving when they get out of school 'cause it's too overstimulating in most cafeterias for kids to be able to concentrate on eating. So if fruit was pushed on them at a frantic pace and there was no candy in sight, the kids would probably eat it.

Delmer - I just found the WEIRDEST thing while looking up the brown jug song (it sounded...ummm...well, inappropriate for singing in preschool, just from the title). Look, here was the warning on the site for lyrics on the National Institute of Health Sciences: "
Important! This is a fun song to sing, but the message is about a man and his wife who had a lot of hard times because of alcohol addictions. Remember, drinking excessively is not good for your health and could lead to serious problems and addictions. In fact, addictions of all types can be very serious health concerns." And then it gives the lyrics, which don't seem to mention any PROBLEMS at all, but instead sing about the virtues of the jug...so strange! Anyway, neat ice cream story! Regular ice cream is practically health food as far as I'm concerned but that colored stuff that comes off the ice cream truck...

Thanks Nicole! Yeah, it was the "frantic pace" I couldn't believe either...

Alf - Yeah, I don't ration the stuff either. I just don't buy it (well, to keep at home - they have soda if we're at a restaurant or whatever). :-0 :-0 :-0 I'm sure my kids will have all kinds of eating issues because of it, but oh well. I'm only giving them the same eating issues I was raised with! :-) :-) :-)

Toners - Got me! They can sugar up the first few that come out the door and then let THEM do the selling at a frantic pace!

the frogster said...

The reason I've always taught (guitar and piano) at conservatories or privately is that my mother and my wife's mother are both career public school teachers and I knew that there would be no way I would last longer than a week without getting fired.

Bastet said...

Whatcha talk'n bout Willis? Load them up with sugar and send them home? No, I should be loading them up with sugar and sending them to school.

Roger said...

Jill thanks for alerting me to the day I just wanted to be one day ahead lol!

Urban Thought said...

Candy and me went together like school yard friends. My mother never provided candy for me but it was around so much that I couldn't help have it. I'm paying the price in my adulthood. I shy away from it these days.

Never cared for cafeteria food.

I like the caption. In NYC schools they've had big issues with the vending machines. At the end of the day its all about the end result: How much money can we make?

Let's not talk about he bake sales though and all those sweets we push like drug dealers to raise money.

Pardon the rant. Love the post.

Frogger said...

Hey, just thought I would let you know total spender is back. Guess his liver did not give out on him.

Ms. Q said...

My brown bag lunches (and of course we brought the lunch bag back home) were super boring: Roman Meal bread, mayonnaise, 2 slices bologne with occasionally a leaf of iceberg. Can of Treetop apple juice. Maybe some Pretzel Sticks in an Alligator baggies with red twist ties. No cookies. No candies. My dad would put in those mini red delicious apples which I felt VERY guilty for throwing away. I just didn't like eating those mealy apples.

If I was home for lunch, it was Campbells Soup and I recall drinking Kool-Aid.

My mom is a Sugar Fiend. Me...not so much. I did eat my share of sweets as a kid but I was one of those skinny girls. I wasn't even that active. I think I just ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. That changed in my 20s!

My parents used cookies and sweets as a treat - it was never part of our regular diet. Sodas - forget it! We only had those when we went out to eat which limited sodas to maybe twice a month!

I watch what I eat way more closely than my parents. Mom loves sugar and fat (in the form of anything chocolate) and my dad - he likes protein and fat (meat!)

DJ Kirkby said...

Yay chocolate pizza! N3S's favorite breakfast! What is the world coming to?

jennifer said...

Funny, but true! Like the post - Jennifer

Saradevil said...

What I hate, and what I am constantly trying to discourage in my students is begging for food. I have something as part of my lunch invariably kids will beg me for it. Mind you what they are begging for is squid and seaweed so on the list of potential foods that they could be begging for this is not so bad but still.

Kids should never beg for things and it annoys me when grownups think that it's acceptable for them to do so.

Ricardo said...

This is why we have such a problem with obesity Jill. They are ramming junk down the kids throats. Terrible.

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Frogster - Yeah, I didn't last long in public school. You've got to be WAY better with deciphering which rules they actually want you to follow and which rules are those kind where you wink and nod than I am. Plus, you've got to be one in favor of following rules in the first place... Thanks for the note about TS!

Bastet - Please noooooooooooo!!!!! :-0 :-0 :-0 At least the ratio is more in the adult's favor when you sugar them up & send them home!!!! :-) :-) :-)

Roger - I'm not usually so aware of my surroundings, but I'm glad to have helped!!

Urban Thought - No pardon necessary! For whatever reason we've decided that it's a good idea to finance our children's education by ruining their health. Seems like an okay thing to rant about to me!

Ms.Q - I'm actually kind of hypocritical I guess, 'cause I'm a big time fan of sugar. Really I think once you get up toward 70% chocolate and above, that's like HEALTH FOOD! But still, I think it's the school's place to model good nutrition. I HATE mealy apples!!!!!!!! Actually, I'm not a fan of fruit. But I do eat some, because it's healthy and all. Not five servings a day though.

DJ Kirkby - I think chocolate pizza is my favorite breakfast too!

Thanks Jennifer!

Sara - Yeah, begging for food is not pretty. I wonder sometimes if my own kids do it when I'm not around to stop them, but I can only tell them it's not right and don't really get to know what happens when I'm not around.

Ricardo - Yeah, the school "snack" set up is definitely part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution like you'd think a school would be.

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