As a teenager living with my widowed Mother and one sister, we had a regulated home routine. The only money we got each school morning was the bus fare so there wasn’t a penny extra for sweets or fags. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner at home and that was that.
My sister cooked dinner during the week and my Mother took over when she was finished work for the weekend. The food was always good but there wasn’t too much of it until Sunday lunch and the roast meat in full battle dress. This was the norm also for most of my friends and we never questioned it.
As regards television, we had one channel and then a second came along but both were rationed by the ‘notebook’ You see a notebook and pencil sat atop the telly and we were duty bound to record in it all of our viewing time with day, date and the duration of the programme/s. The ration during the working week was thirty minutes per night not counting the news or any educational programming. This too we respected with the odd grunt of dissent. I would watch F-Troop, I Dream of Jeannie or the Hillbillies when they were on but in general, screen time was viewed by adults as unproductive when there was studying to be done. As a result, a few short years later when I had my own flat and TV I tended not to bother that much with it.
So two stories recently in the Irish Examiner caught my eye. One claimed that, “Childhood obesity was seen as inevitable,” while the other had the line, “Parents felt utterly disempowered when it came to managing their children’s smartphone or computer usage, because there was no clear guidance,”
Ah for fucks sake, I thought, are there any true parents around anymore? What’s that shit about no clear guidance? In the family home it is the responsibility of both parents to provide the guidance in all matters for their kids, full stop. As regards what the brats eat, that’s up to you also. Mobile phones and computers can be simply switched off by the authority figures and any moaning about that could risk further penalties. You’re either in charge of the kids for their protection and development or the tail wags the dog.
Then there’s this! “There is near complete normalisation of the childhood obesity epidemic,” a health expert told an Oireachtas committee, and I have two comments to make about that. It’s not the business of any Oireachtas committee to go poking their nose into what you feed your kids, it’s your business as a parent. And as regards the ‘concerned’ health expert in this matter, that’s her job riding on this and unless something drastic is done about it she risks collecting the dole.
The story suggests that the kids today are plodding slowly about with their noses in screens to exclusion of life going on around them. What they really need is a good kick up the hole, a little food rationing in the home accompanied by a strict workout regime. But what they’ll get is political interference that they won’t notice because they’re too fat and busy with their expensive phones to bother tuning into reality. So the adults will get new laws with bans and fines for the parents of tubby brats who are disconnected from real life and the crafty politician behind all of it will get advancement and more power in his chosen career.
Where did normal common sense go to and when?