My 7 year old has a program at school where she gets rewarded with “WOW!” tickets each time she brings in a HEALTHY snack.
As a fitness oriented mother, I pack her – not one – but TWO – fruits and some cut up vegetables each and every day. I prepare them in little Tupperware to stay crisp and fresh and i put little smiley faces on the stay fresh ziploc bags to add that little extra smile to their day- (possibly because as a child I was secretly envious of my friends lunch bags with the very same smiley faces drawn on when all I ever had was packed by my 300 pound housekeeper who shoved soggy stale mayo laden tuna sandwiches in a brown paper bag with just my initials on it (same initials as my brother Jonathan but somehow did’nt make a difference since he too had same soggy sandwhich) – with no snacks -because SHE ate all the cookies herself the minute my mom brought home from the store. )
Not me. I take EXTRA care and even add lemon to the girls water bottles for extra Oprah circa 1990 flair.
So I was quite proud to hear that she has built up quite an arsenal of “WOW!” tickets to be redeemed for a prize at the end of the month.
I must say i was a bit disappointed though, when I asked her what she is going to redeem in the form of a prize when she told me plain and simple:
Hmm….. let me get this straight: if you bring in HEALTHY snacks you get a ticket and the PRIZE for all these tickets is…… CANDY????
I suppose what bothers me here is not the irony of the situation – nor the candy aspect- i give my kids plenty of it too and YES it delights them each time- but i think what bothers me the most here is the concept of giving FOOD -ANY kind of FOOD as a REWARD for good behavior.
That just leads to no good later in life once they discover Ben and Jerry’s after a blind date. (Or is that just in the movies? )
When I was a kid, my mom forced me to take piano lessons with Mrs Ericsson, the old lady who lived across the street who had a piano in her basement and taught all the neighborhood kids.
I NEVER EVER practiced – I absolutely HATED being FORCED to stop playing outside to endure brutally boring lessons in an old lady’s basement – but the ONE and ONLY redeeming factor about sitting at her piano was each time i got a note right – I was rewarded with a candy corn.
Candy corn were my absolute favorite candy as a kid. I’m not positive, but I think that for some reason they were not considered “KOSHER” back in the 1970’s due to Gelatin or something made up by the Kosher police and the sheltered little Orthodox Jewish girl in me was secretly inhaling them and getting off on the fact that i was not only indulging in a TRAIF (i.e.: NON KOSHER) food but also in my own rebellious 8 year old way – ………. cheating the system.
Looking back now – the reward of CANDY for good behavior should have been my FIRST lesson in life of FITNESS GONE WRONG but it certainly WORKED back then and i can see how it WORKS now.
So i decide to keep my mouth SHUT about the irony and idiocy of rewarding children for healthy habits with SUGAR laden JUNK food and just let my kids be what they are entitled to be:
Enjoy the Ring Pops or the Candy Corn but understand that they are NO REWARD for a job WELL DONE – it simply is what it is….CANDY.
Good delicious CANDY.
Enjoy the week – and remember : new week SAME fitness goals to accomplish them.