The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 19, 2012

Face it, moms, ‘guvment’ knows best

By Kelly Kazek
kelly@athensnews-courier.com

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Sometimes we need to just admit the government knows what’s best for us.

Politicians, after all, are highly trained professionals in the art of, well, knowing what’s best.

For instance, if a teacher tells a 4-year-old in a North Carolina pre-kindergarten program that her sack lunch doesn’t meet governmental nutrition requirements, we should listen.

If she makes the child eat a school-prepared lunch instead, who are we to question?

If the school lunch of fried chicken nuggets happens to be replacing the turkey sandwich, banana and fruit juice the student’s mother packed, well, we can only hope that mom has learned her lesson.

To be fair, school district officials said the teacher was required by law to offer any items missing from a child’s sack lunch, such as a vegetable and a carton of milk. The teacher was not supposed to make the child replace her entire lunch, they said. But the result was, the intimidated child ate three chicken nuggets and nothing else. The majority of two lunches went to waste.

I don’t know many 4-year-olds who will eat broccoli, unless you put it in the blender and shoot the child with a broccoli-tipped arrow. The mom told news sources she didn’t pack the guvment-required vegetable because her child refused to eat them without her mom supervising and she could not afford to waste the money.

Here’s what this well-meaning mom doesn’t understand: While she doesn't have money to waste, the government has plenty.

Of course, recently another governmental body, this one in San Francisco, Calif., decided chicken nuggets in McDonald’s Happy Meals were so fraught with danger the city’s Board of Supervisors banned the restaurant from giving away toys that might “encourage” children to eat said nuggets.

No one ever said politics made sense.

The guy who introduced the ban mentioned the “pester factor” of children who might persuade parents to give in and buy the meals. You can see the benefits, right? Now parents don’t have to parent. Rather than tell a child “No,” followed by the standard-of-my-day: “Because I said so,” they can fall back on that age-old excuse “The government made me do it.”

Here’s one governmental law I’m sure parents will be on board with: The Alabama House of Representatives just passed a bill that would outlaw sagging pants. If the Senate agrees, residents of Montgomery County would be fined if caught wearing pants below their waistlines.

Finally.

It’s difficult enough to make your child actually wear pants. How can we be expected to make him pull them up? This is why we have laws.

Of course, as governments and parents, we walk a fine line. Maybe we should choose our battles.

True, I hate seeing the waistband of a kid’s boxers, but it could be worse. What if he had on tighty-whities and they were of the variety that hadn’t been washed in a while?

This is one area where moms have the edge: We can make kids put on clean underwear — because we said so.

I don’t think even the government wants to go there.