There is quite a bit to be said about yesterday’s election day…most of it I will keep to myself, at least for now. But there is one outcome that we need to talk about: San Francisco’s board of supervisors voted to disallow the sale of toys with any complete meal boasting 600 calories or more.
Now, here’s the deal, folks-I’m as anti-childhood obesity as the next guy, but banning happy meals is a band-aid on this epidemic, and an ill-fitting off brand band-aid at that. (Let me be clear on this: I do realize that some, if not MOST obesity is the result of deep emotional wounds, it is because of this that I believe the ban on Happy Meals is a mere band-aid on a deeper issue). But for the rest of us who can’t fit into our old jeans anymore and are raising our kids to eat whatever they want, it’s simply time for us to STOP PLAYING THE VICTIM! My husband loves fast food and since marrying him, I’ve probably consumed more fast food than I did in the 27 years before I met him. Have I become obese? No. I have stopped eating french fries, I get the healthier menu items, I get smaller portions (often in form of kids’ meals). Could I supersize all my meals? Yes, yes I could, but I don’t. And usually I just let him and his “I’m a little man” self go eat fast food alone. It is not the fault of McDonald’s, Chick Fil A, Taco Bell, that people are obese.
Here’s my question: whatever happened to personal responsibility? Whatever happened to just NOT taking our kids to McDonald’s? Or letting them have an occasional Happy Meal on their birthday? Whatever happened to budgeting our money in such a way that we can AFFORD healthier foods at home? Or even learning to grow our own healthy foods in the back yard? Whatever happened to ordering our busy lives so we have time for exercise? What ever happened to eating until we are full? Why do we think that putting leftovers in the fridge is such a bad thing?
I don’t see cities banning cable tv or putting an age limit on operating gaming systems-both of which I believe play a large part in childhood obesity. Why? Because people would lose their minds! But I tell you what-I don’t believe we are far from it, because for some reason we believe that Big Brother can hop in and fix everything. He can fix poverty, he can fix the mortgage crisis, he can fix health care, and now he can fix childhood obesity. No, the government cannot fix these things and in the last 100+ years of trying, we have only ended up in a deeper hole.
We have abandoned the idea that we play any role at all in our own personal well-being. Furthermore, as parents we’ve handed over child rearing to teachers, church workers, and politicians. Our grandparents and great-grandparents would be heartbroken by what their children and grandchildren have become, and I am too.
The solution lies with us, dear friends, not our Big Brother.
P.S. I enjoy Chick Fil A kid’s meals on a regular basis and if they take my toys away, I’m gonna be TICKED!
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PPS. Please do not read this as a knock on overweight people-this blog is a knock on our foolishness in expecting the government to solve our problem and also a knock on the government being so pious as to think they can solve every problem.