365 Ways #237–screwing up the bell curve Posted on October 31, 2010, 0 Comments

#237--a classic Peanut's cartoon came on t.v. this week: The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. So we decided it might be fun to watch it as a family. It's one of the cool things about having a child. You can literally be a kid once more and every day experience life again for the first time.

Our son doesn't watch much t.v. We limit him to 1hr/day, spending more time reading or playing with cars or pretending to be Batman--his costume for this Halloween. And the t.v. he does watch is mostly Curious George on PBS. My wife pointed out that since PBS doesn't have traditional advertising, our son was going to see his first commercial--not one of the life moments we were keen on sharing. The average kid is exposed to an estimated 40,000 television commercials a year, over 100 a day. And I didn't relish the idea of contributing to those stats.

It ended up being a McDonald's commercial, of course. And there were several others, obviously aimed at children--as if grown men don't watch Peanuts cartoons (as if anybody would confuse me with a grown man...). And I know I can't protect him from everything. And I'm sure some would argue that he's going to want fast food or sodas even more because we don't "let" him have stuff like that. But when he's had any of this commercial crap "food" (obviously without my approval), he usually says it's "spicy". Those spices are the man-made, toxic chemicals which he just hasn't developed a tolerance for like most people, so he actually tastes them when he puts it in his mouth. Thankfully, he doesn't like them.

You know, my mom never let me have crack cocaine when I was growing up. And I keep waiting for this urge to try some since my mom was so over-protective. Maybe the comparison's a bit of a stretch. But maybe not. With 90% of the money spent on food in this country going toward fast food; and with 1 out of 3 Americans obese, I'd say the parallels are hard to deny. So I think I'll keep encouraging my son to honor his body and mind with food and activities which contribute to his vitality. After all, there are plenty of people at the other end of the spectrum. The curve will still be in effect.