Carol: Learning a Lesson the Hard Way
So even The New York Times is reporting on students’ widespread unhappiness with the school food resulting from Michelle Obama-inspired new Department of Agriculture regulations.
In fairness, I have always been somewhat sympathetic to Michelle Obama’s efforts to expose children to healthier ways of eating. Perhaps this is because I have always suspected that her focus isn’t really on the affluent kids whose parents are already paying attention to their eating habits; rather, she’s trying to reach the children who are regularly consuming M&Ms and a coke for breakfast, and having dinner at McDonalds every night (and yes, they are out there). And she is, one would think, very well-positioned to influence them.
But it seems things are not working out quite as she expected. And that, my friends, offers both for her — and for the children — what the President is fond of characterizing as a “teachable moment.”
Here’s what the children are learning (and will, one hopes, always remember): Increased government involvement in anything means your portion of it will be reduced; it’ll cost more; and you’ll like it less.
Here’s what Mrs. Obama and the rest of her liberal buddies should learn (but probably won’t): All the best-intentioned big government social engineering programs don’t mean diddly up against human nature and home training. If particular habits (about anything) aren’t taught or valued at home — where children’s primary influences are — all the high-minded intentions in the world won’t succeed in changing minds, habits or lives without some degree of buy-in from parents.
Ultimately, all this foodie obsession being visited on children makes me a little crazy. The children who, it might be argued, need it most neither want it nor will pay attention to it. The other children are going to end up obsessed with what they put into their mouths, rather than what comes out of them (to paraphrase Matthew 15:11). Will all of this facilitate a higher incidence of eating disorders in the affluent suburbs?
And wouldn’t we all be a bit better advised also to be a little more concerned about the cultural junk food (in terms of music, movies and video games) that our children are consuming? After all, until you hit middle age, it’s a lot easier to lose some extra weight than it is to heal a heart, spirit or mind that’s been unduly influenced by some of the other, very unhealthy junk that’s out there. Where’s the concern about that?