Its funny what images stick in the mind. A couple of weeks ago I'm walking the dog, and up ahead I see this really large kid crossing the road. When I say large I mean obese. Morbidly obese. Obese in a way you don't often see in kids. And here's the thing; I found myself feeling angry towards his parents, whom I expect i will never meet. I mean this kid couldn't have been more than 9 or 10, yet he was heavier than most full grown adults. Now I'm a parent myself, and I cannot imagine any circumstance under which I would stand by and watch a child of mine develop habits that will pretty much ensure a rendezvous with an early grave. So the question I have is really simple; where's the love in allowing a kid to develop this way? Under what conditions could this in any way benefit them? And what must the parents be thinking? Are they thinking? Do they care? Is it simply the case that they are large themselves?
I don't want this to be perceived as a rant against obesity. Whilst I do struggle to apprehend why people choose to self harm using food (And it is self harm) I accept that adults have the freedom to live as they chose and treat their own body as they see fit. But with this kid what the parents appear to be doing is either passively or actively supporting a lifestyle destined to lead to unhappiness, low self esteem, and in all probability premature death.
Where is the love in any of this? Where is the desire to see our children flourish? What do we teach them when we do so little to enhance their wellbeing.? Look, I know some of you are probably feeling a little irked with me for putting in my two cents. It's just that I don't get it? I don't understand. The parents of this child are killing him. Slowly, efficiently, silently. If we learned of parents whom introduced their kids to narcotics we would be aghast. Social services would be all over the family like a bad smell. Why not this? Isn't the outcome likely to be just as awful? Why accept one form of abuse whilst allowing other types to go unchecked?
I'll quit now. But I'm going out with a bang. Part of raising kids is teaching them self control, self discipline. And sometimes this means saying no to them. It means taking a sterner line, adopting a longer term view. Reality check; we don't own our children. We're stewards, and we have them for such a brief time. Let's give them the best possible chance to flourish in what is an increasingly challenging world. To do otherwise is about as far removed from love as you can get.