-We Took a Wrong Turn Somewhere-
When I was a kid, we didn’t have these kinda things. I was at a friend’s house yesterday for breakfast, and was looking through the Sunday paper. I saw this in a Target ad. My immediate thought was, “oh, this is cute,” but then I began thinking “why in the heck do kids need to be bribed in order to PLAY?” Riding a bike is play. Since when did kids have to be stuck on a stationary bike? Looking at this picture, I feel like i’m looking at the kiddie version of a Lifecycle at any one of the gazillion “McGym”s that pollute our country.
I guess whatever does the job, right?
Wrong. This ties into several “trends” of today. Physical education programs continue to be cut from schools (along with art and music…makes great sense, huh?). People are lazier than ever. People raising kids are doing so in a society that breeds a sedentary lifestyle. Kids aren’t encouraged to go outside and play. It’s much easier to sit them on the floor in front of the TV and let them entertain themselves that way. Yeah, I know it’s not the safest idea to have your kids frolicing around outside in this day and age, but there are safe ways of going about this. When I was a kid (here we go), I grew up in the “don’t talk to strangers” era. People were freaked out about kidnappings and drugs. Did my parents plop me down in front of the TV? Heck no. We played outside for most of the time. We were physically active. We enjoyed it so much that when we did eventually get a video game system (original Nintendo…20 years ago…wow), it didn’t turn us into couch potatoes because we had been raised in an active household.
Looking at this picture, I can predict the future…flash forward 30 years…little Johnny is overweight, has high cholesterol, and is borderline diabetic. He has joined a “gym in a box” with the hopes of reversing all this. He feels right at home on the Lifecycle because he can watch Family Guy while he pedals furiously.
What can WE do to change this?
WE must be the solution. WE must be active. WE must be good role models for our children. WE must put their health and well-being as top priority.
I may be venturing out on a limb here, but feeding a child junk food as his main source of nutrients is neglect. Not providing a child with opportunities to be active is neglect. Being so busy and stressed out that you hardly have time to spend with your child is neglect. Using food as a reward for good behavior is neglect. I am not a parent (yet), but I promise you that when I am, I will make sure that my kid gets to be KID, not a zoned-out pre-diabetic at the age of seven.
So, back to the kiddie Lifecycle. It’s better than nothing, i’ll give it that, BUT what happens when the “new” wears off and that toy is collecting dust?
I guess at that point you wait until they make a kiddie treadmill with the same idea.
Thanks, mom and dad, for encouraging us to be active. You guys were active yourselves, and provided us with plenty of opportunities to learn the importance of a healthy lifestyle at a young age. I know, I know…I detested artichoke and I really wanted Lucky Charms instead of Cheerios, but those messages stuck with me. Y’all were both extremely busy parents. Y’all both worked insane hours and had numerous obligations outside of your jobs. Did this stop y’all from getting the message across? No.
Kids listen. Kids pay attention. Kids pick up on what you’re doing.
Be a POSITIVE example.