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Kids Beings Kids

When Did We Let It Get So Complicated

Kids are overweight.. kids are lazy..kids aren’t getting enough exercise…kids eat the wrong food…blah…blah…blah…blah…blah!

“Good Grief,” as Charlie Brown would say. Kids must feel as though they are under a constant microscope. Let’s take a look at some of the changes that brought the youth exercise situation to where it is today…and while we’re looking let’s acknowledge that some of what is happening is a direct result of parents’ fear of injury, bullying, predators and/or their child being "left out" and other times it’s plainly the fear of being sued. 

Did you know that trampolines were banned in schools as far back as 1977 and that tobogganing has been outlawed in some states?  I used to love using the trampoline on gym days in High School and I still enjoy a toboggan ride now and again. With parents and the government structuring leisure activities it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out why so many kids end up in front of the computer…we keep taking away the fun stuff…the non-organized stuff!  Heck kids today don’t have a chance…to well…just be a kid! 

I know there are still plenty of young people playing sports, but the teams are all so super CONTROLLED!  Where can kids find a good pick-up game (of any kind) and are they allowed to get there on their own? 

Hey, I get it because I had two of my own…luckily in a neighborhood with a swarm of boys their same age and a field and a school one street over.  went out on a limb and brought some old fashioned 'youth play' to the city. Where else is this happening?  Maybe it should be happening more…

Honestly…school-yard and neighborhood pick-up games are where I learned my earliest negotiating and decision making skills (also at home where I vied for position with my 7 other siblings), but I digress. 

Parents today are sometimes over-involved - not to say that is wrong, but how does a child learn people skills if they are not left alone to do so…and I do not mean left alone with the obvious bullies. We know how to spot them…so do your kids. 

But there are dozens of young people that are at the other end of the spectrum…those that are teachers, nurturers, mentors…they are the kids that your children need to be around learning, growing and becoming the same model to the next group coming up.  For Pete’s sake even the ‘Y’ programs can sometimes be so over-scheduled there is no room for youth discretion or decision.

Most parents mean well by all this over-scheduling but heck I can remember my own son (who loved Basketball and played in numerous leagues) begging me to let him play hooky from practice when he wanted to join in on a pick-up game of flag-football or whiffle ball with the neighborhood posse.

We as parents do have to ensure that kids get quality and quantity physical run but it needs to be in a format that the kids believe is fun…it can’t always be what we, as parents, think is best.  Exhausting being the parent…isn’t it? 

This I know…kids are getting fatter and because of this the government has invaded what was once the sole domain of the parent.  It, the government, and in some cases school leaders, have now decided that they are in charge of your child’s weight and fitness…brown bag lunches not allowed, fast food and toy attacks on many franchises, fat farm vacations sprouting up, and there have even been articles written (and debated) on taking your kids from you if they are found to be obese!  What is that?!?! GET OUT!

It appears to me that some officials think that parents are not capable or shall I suggest the government and others think that many of us are clueless. According to a 2010 study, 84 percent of American parents believe their kids are at the “just right” weight, yet statistics show that nearly 1/3 of the kids are overweight or obese.  I for one believe many of the numbers indicated for good weight and those that identify obesity are faulty, putting many that are slightly over skinny as being obese…however, that being said, come on parents you know if you are overweight…you certainly can tell by looking and watching your child eat and play, whether they are overweight or are soon going to be.

Parents…stand forward…take a look at yourself…make some decisions about you and your kids’ health. Take CHARGE for goodness sake!  YOU are the adult mentor…YOU are or SHOULD be your child’s leader.  Give your children the chance to learn by example how best to care for themselves and their health.

One thing’s for sure...if parents do not come forward and do right by their children, the government, our government, is going to insist on doing it for you. Do not let that happen. Politicians are supposed to find ways to make America a better place to LIVE…for the people by the people…we should NOT put ourselves in a position that in anyway allows the government to involve itself in our family dynamics, most especially as it relates to what we serve at the dinner table or in a home-made school lunch…it is an invasion of our parental rights. 

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