Friday, March 26, 2010

Scared Me to the Core

I watched "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" tonight.  Jamie Oliver went to Huntington, WV - a town that was statistically called the most unhealthy city in America based on levels of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, early deaths, etc.  It is a timely show and just fascinating to watch how people react to change.  There were, however, a couple of parts that were SHOCKING.  I don't think this had anything to do with where they were filming - my mom is from WV, so I don't have a bias, I don't think they are hillbillies or anything of the sort.  I think these issues would show up everywhere if anyone took the time to look...

Shocking Item #1:  Jamie Oliver went into the kids classrooms to get them excited about eating fresh food and he dressed up as a giant pea pod.  The kids did not know what his costume was supposed to be.  He was surprised by that, so he went into a first grade classroom and decided to test the students and their knowledge about vegetables.  When I was their age, I might not have been able to identify an eggplant, but I know for sure that I could identify tomatoes, potatoes and cauliflower.  And I knew that french fries were potatoes.  I was just stunned - kids couldn't identify TOMATOES.

Shocking item #2:  The school withheld SILVERWARE from the kids - they only got a spoon...ever.  When Jamie suggested they would need knives and forks, the kitchen staff and principal of the school were like, "What for?" eat with?  The school has a student body of about 450 kids ages 4-10 years.  When they did provide the silverware (they weren't sure there would be enough), the kids literally didn't know how to use it...6 years didn't know how to use a butterknife.  Now, granted, the kids wouldn't necessarily be GOOD at it, but they should know what a knife is and how it is supposed to be used.

What are we doing?  I just don't get why people have kids if they don't want to nurture and teach and guide them into being human beings who are independent, self-actualized, able to handle themselves in public...I mean, for goodness sake!

So, all of this reminds me of a radio story I heard where they were trying to bring up afternoon scores - the kids in this one elementary school seemed to be having a high rate of illness in the afternoon, the kids were not learning or retaining information. So, someone came in and asked them to change the lunch and recess times around.  Originally, the school ushered kids into the lunch room to eat, then afterwards 15 minutes of recess. When they changed and had the kids go out for recess first, then come in for lunch, they noted that kids ate more of their lunches, they were better able to attend and learn in the afternoon and they had a significant drop in visits to the school nurse in the afternoons.  It is so simple sometimes - and it doesn't cost anything to have recess first. Let the kids burn off some energy, get hungry, get their "stuff" out, THEN bring them in to eat. It makes perfect sense.

Sometimes I get very scared of the world we are building.

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