Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sex Ed Test

Do you think you can read English? Let’s try a little quiz: which of the following 8th grade human growth and development courses should I sign my son up for if I want to order him an attractive 14K gold promise ring, and which one will show him how to put a condom on a banana?

A) Stepping Stones to Better Living: Responsible Decisions
B) My Life: Choices Today for a Healthy Tomorrow
C) They make promise rings for dudes?
D) Why would a banana ever need to wear a condom?

For the answer, you, like my fellow New Hanover County parents, will have to point your browser to The problem here is that while the names both suggest that responsible decisions are better than decisions that are rash, wanton, ill-considered, random, drunken, or forced on one by a physically or socially dominant partner, only one of these family life programs has a good track record for keeping kids from prematurely developing a family life. Or from contracting any number of diseases ranging from the unpleasant to the terminal. 

Why stop at sexuality education programs that don’t fully educate about sexuality? Why not a driver’s ed class where they just watch traffic and talk about not crashing? Why not a keyboarding elective taught in cursive? I would have appreciated a PE course where we watched replays from the weekend’s games and discussed how we could have improved on the coaches' calls (I hated dressing out).

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about abstinence, especially where my own precious kids are involved. I’m also a strong proponent of world peace. But not ensuring that my kids get comprehensive and responsible sexuality education? That’s bananas.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lies With That Shake?

When you were a kid, did you ever get the sense that the grownups in your life weren’t telling you, like, really important stuff? I think back on so many unanswered questions: “But how does Santa Clause get to all those houses in one night? Why would you ever want to go on vacation without me? Are martinis really the only way that Daddy can eat his olives?”

A new study in the journal Obesity proves that withholding the truth from children may be the key to addressing the childhood weight crisis. According to the authors, a restaurant chain called the Silver Diner (first sign of deception: not a one of their restaurants is made of actual precious metal) launched a new kids’ menu in 2012 that conveniently forgot to make any mention of “french fries,” replacing them with “strawberries” and “mixed vegetables.” It’s not that kids couldn’t order fries, they just had no way to know they were an option unless their parents slipped up and said something, presumably after having a few too many olives.

Here’s the thing: the kids were happy. They ate a measurably healthier diet, and revenues went up at Silver Diner as parents flocked to the chain to enjoy snickering behind their menus as their children snarfed "mixed vegetables." 

As a parent, not only do I wish that we had a Silver Diner around here, but I am just beginning to realize the power we might have if we all bond together in giant conspiracies: “I’m sorry, but Apple will not sell an iPhone to anyone under age 18.” “No, fighting with your brother is not on the menu, but I see here that they have hugging, playing soccer, and reading together.” “There are certain critical vitamins that dads can only obtain through olives. Now go eat your strawberries.”