COLUMN: It's time for the public to play a role in parenting

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 9:42 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I have always had a weight problem. I am a featherweight and I have problems gaining. Most people think that is a ‘high-class’ problem, but that’s only because the problem is not theirs.

Nevertheless, I sympathize with people who claim that they can’t even look at food without adding on the pounds. And, anytime one is in a public place and observes others, most people do seem to be overweight. So, I was glad last week, when I had a burger at one of the fast-food chain restaurants and noticed that they had listed on their place mats the number of calories in their most popular sandwiches.

I don’t know how many people will change their choices because of the calorie count. Americans have become pretty determined to do whatever they want and to heck with the consequences. I hope that they will be concerned about their children, though, and try to make them aware of problems they will encounter down the line.

I have many friends who after years of being overweight are finally paying the price of overeating. Unfortunately, too many people wait until health issues emerge before they take their dietary habits seriously. The fact that most people get into overeating as children should warn parents that the sooner they address the problem the better.

Maybe, providing diners with an opportunity to make good choices can be the beginning of a new strategy in the way we deal with problems in this society. Making everyone that has some involvement with an issue take responsibility for doing his or her part in dealing with a solution makes sense. Some individuals eat many of their meals away from home. If people begin to order their fare more responsibly, then I think this would have an impact on business owners to find ways to deliver foods that contain fewer calories.

Of course, this all depends on getting the educational system to do its job. Making nutrition classes a part of the school curriculum when children enter kindergarten and continuing it through graduation would probably make a huge difference.

I think the time is slowly coming when society will have to accept the fact that many parents are not going to take responsibility for their children’s welfare, period. This means the public is going to have to begin instituting new safeguards to protect minors from a variety of evils. Sooner or later, we are going to have to take matters of protecting children into the public’s domain. We are going to have to do it all; keep them out of the hands of child molesters, teach them how to choose between appropriate and inappropriate behavior, teach good nutritional habits and the whole nine yards.

Many people think that the D.A.R.E. program is ineffective while at the same time, they offer nothing better. Well, I read that program material a long time ago, and it addresses the matter of teaching young people the difference between good and bad choices better than any other program that I have encountered. In that regard, it does a lot more for young people than many of their parents.

We have gone on so long with allowing parents to bring up their children however they choose, that it’s hard for some people to come to the conclusion that this method is not working. The number of children living with grandparents, other relatives, in foster homes and orphanages indicates that we are not doing a good job. One of the things that the constantly evolving technologies should make us aware of is the fact that life consists of making changes to keep pace with the changing times.

Last year we had to do away with old-style televisions, and I doubt that it’s possible to use rotary dial phones anywhere in the country. A whole bunch of years have passed since parents took responsibility for the wrongdoing of their children. Nowadays in many cases, parents are co-conspirators.

So like it or not, we’re going to have to regulate in more and more areas. Just like we have to regulate the financial and insurance markets to stay out of a recession, we are going to have to govern the activities of many people to prevent anarchy.

This democratic republic can only remain our form of government as long as the individuals it governs behave lawfully. Otherwise tyranny will ensue. Think it over.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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Ellis Smith April 7, 2010 | 5:05 a.m.

"It takes a village to raise a child." -Hillary Clinton

(Report Comment)
Jim Nichol April 12, 2010 | 2:50 p.m.

My response is somewhat long, I hope you don't mind.

JD Nichol

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 12, 2010 | 3:56 p.m.

("Ellis Smith April 7, 2010 | 5:05 a.m.
"It takes a village to raise a child." -Hillary Clinton")

In January 1996 publisher Simon & Schuster released hillary Rodham-Clinton's It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us in which then First Lady Hillary espused more the expansion of government than any true wisdom or insight into the nurturing of children.")

("It takes a village to raise a cannibal.")

(Report Comment)
phillipp young April 18, 2010 | 11:51 p.m.

the schools have nutritionists, and they have health classes.Thats all the schools need to do as far as nutrition is involved.and making public policies to make us feed our kids?gimme a break lady!we already have way too many regulations.uncle obama can feed his kids however he wants, but i will feed my kids how i see fit!my wife is diabetic and so is her parents, so we know what our daughter needs to eat to dodge those problems and others, we dont need you or the feds telling us what and how to feed our daughter.those that depend on food stamps maybe should be given classes on nutrition and have to show proof that they are buying good foods instead of junk.but those of us that work for our money will determine what we buy and what we eat.want regulated diets?go to china.

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