Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happy Meal Parenthood

Tonight, I watched a news story about how The Center for Science in the Public Interest is planning to sue the McDonalds Corporation to try to force them to stop providing toys in their Happy Meals. The concern seems to be that the toys will cause the kids to nag their parents into submission leading them to buy unhealthy food, which will inevitably lead to further childhood obesity. Oh, come on! Again, here is some group whose sole purpose for existence is to protect us from ourselves.

Leave McDonalds alone. I am not really much of a McDonalds fan; except for an occasional Egg McMuffin or Quarter-Pounder with Cheese, but the real question for me is: Where are the parents?

There were over 50 people killed in shootings in Chicago this last weekend. The killings in Chicago have been so bad recently that there has been talk of calling out the National Guard. From the news reports, it seems that many of the shootings are gang related. Most of these gang-bangers are kids or young adults. Where are the parents?

A few years ago, my wife and I took a cruise out of LA. We had four nights on the ship and greatly enjoyed the sights of Catalina Island. It was great to be away. It was great to spend time with my wife in a romantic setting. However, there was one experience that ruined much of it for me. The big problem was that I could hear every word spoken in the cabin next door through what was obviously an under-insulated wall. On the last night, the two young men in that cabin brought a young girl back to their berth. I won’t elaborate further except to say that at one point she told them she was fifteen years old! WHERE WERE HER PARENTS?!

Now, to be fair, a parent cannot catch every possible childhood infraction. Once, one of my girls caused me to have a confrontation with an irate driver who didn’t seem to see the joy in having his car struck by a tossed stone. She got a few minutes of unsupervised time and she thought it would be a fun thing to sit near the road and toss gravel in the direction of passing cars. He screeched to a stop, threw the vehicle into reverse, gunned it backward twenty feet, and jumped out to scream at a little girl. Where was her parent? Well, I was just inside, and I leapt to my feet when I heard the guy’s tires squealing. Believe me, after I dealt with the driver, I dealt with the girl.

When I was a boy, a cousin and I decided it would be fun to take sticks and hit rocks over a building across from his house. We did it successfully for a long time, but then I got a bigger “bat” and a bigger rock. I hit a line drive directly through the window in the building’s door. We took off running. Where were our parents? Well, they were in the house, and believe me, they dealt with us.

I was taught to respect people. I was taught to give way when I was in another adult’s path. I was taught to treat others with kindness and fairness. I was taught that there dues to be paid for misbehavior.

There was a time when parents were in charge; a time when children had a healthy fear of their dads. Parents weren’t their children's best friends or too distracted with their own lives to be bothered dealing with the kid’s issues. They were teachers, mentors, givers of love and affection, and providers of discipline. They made the decisions. They protected their children from danger, but not from consequences. They called the shots. They couldn’t be nagged into buying Happy Meals if they didn’t think the child should have one.

There are still some of you around. Please raise your hand. Please stand up and give the new generation of parents an example to follow. It seems to me that many of our parents need some parenting.


  1. Well said! Now that I'm the parent, I see how easy it is to give in but how ridiculous and harmful it actually is. I do not enjoy my 1 and 2 year olds' tantrums. But such is life. Today, I explained to our oldest that my job is to keep her safe. She didn't like it, but thats not a choice she gets to make.

  2. I agree! Specially now that I am a parent. It's sad that I have to take Ryan to the playground in the mornings while the neighborhood kids are at school because they are HORRIBLE. They throw rocks (these are like, 7-12 year olds) and climb on TOP of the equipment, throw trash down, destroy things. I don't want him near them. And that's my biggest question - where are their parents??!!?? My son and I have to take a trashbag on walks with us because he is ONE and knows that trash does not belong on the ground and he can't leave it. He picks up every little bit and puts it in our trash bag and throws it away when we get home. He is ONE people. Ugh. I agree with the above person - well said!