Image by David Masters

It’s not often I am horrified by the action (or inaction) of other parents. I try to be gracious, keeping the judgemental side of me on a tight reign, guiding it to happy pastures where it can eat and run free. But today I must admit I was taken aback by a 1 year old sitting in a trolley, eating BUTTER straight from the packet. Mind you it was organic but that just makes more startling.

What are we teaching our kids? It’s ok to eat raw fat because we like the taste? Where on earth is that child going to end up? I have a ‘thing’ about obese kids and the like. And I’m going to try and express it in a self-controlled, calm and gracious way so as not to offend. But seriously, what are we doing to our kids? Simply because they like a food, they can have it? Perhaps because us Gen ‘X’s weren’t?

When I was in primary school, being obese was rare but these days, it’s not a shock to the system it’s a part of it. I know it’s hard to say no to the kids, especially this time of year when chocolate is dumped on their doorstep, but food is life… and death. If bad eating habits are formed early we put huge stumbling blocks in front of our kids. If they’re not taught, they won’t catch on to good nutrition until it’s almost too late.

Last night on 60 Minutes (Australia) they had a story on Lap Band Surgery for teenagers. This beautiful girl was hoeing into pizza and crap by the bucketful just before her surgery. She had always eaten like this and suffered for it, nearly going blind. I must admit I was torn. The surgery saves lives but it just seems like another ‘quick fix’ in our instant gratification society. Where’s the self control, where’s the knowledge of nutrition? The job of a parent is to guide and teach not be overly permissive. That’s not love. Letting your child get so big that they could go blind or die is not love. The heart may be in the right place but that doesn’t help the kids live healthy, happy lives!

The flip side of all this is bringing up kids who are so obsessed by what they are eating and what they look like that they suffer from eating disorders. It’s tricky. But all parenting is this way. My hope is that parents will feel more empowered and confident in their own life and with their own knowledge to guide their kids. That they would know what is good for them in the long term and not just give them snacks to shut them up or make them temporarily happy.