Thursday, June 9, 2011

Responsibility - expanded

To continue the discussion from last time about failures in parental responsibility linked to their children’s ability to develop discipline, I cite the recent news story featuring a group of health professionals pressuring McDonalds to stop offering toys in kid’s meals and to retire Ronald McDonald as “mascot.”  This group is saying in effect that most parents have lost control of their children and are not expected to get it back.  Don’t ask the parents to change their behavior, instead put pressure on the corporation to change their advertising practices.  It’s not the parents’ fault that kids are not eating properly.  Blame it on the clown and the toys in the happy meals!

What is most disturbing is that as a nation we have become so complacent to these well-meaning activities by interest groups and advocates that our choices (our freedoms) are being curtailed, not because of any real danger, but on the assumption that parents are not in control.  (Remember also the Microsoft ad that plays on this very theme.  Mom and Dad can’t get the kids to sit still for a family portrait so she turns to a PC application for help.)

How do we get advertisers and lawmakers to change their assumptions?  How do we drive solutions that don’t strip rights from everyone due to the failures of the rest?  We, as a society, must improve that behavior!  There are those of us who may want to give the kids a treat from time to time, but not every time they whine for one, and we will not be able to.  The rights of everyone are limited because the behavior of the rest leads the government or well-intentioned advocates to ban these options to everyone.  Again it’s clear that taking away choices is not the long-term answer to people not making responsible decisions.  The problem is behavioral and no government or pressure group solution will work, because they impose restrictions instead of recognizing and addressing the core problem.

Based on this and my last blog, ask yourself where the cause and solution to the “childhood obesity epidemic” really lie.

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