The start of the new year and already two items in yesterday's SHS have made me mad.
"The PM has encouraged couples planning marriages to take pre-marriage classes to help cut the divorce rate. But he's wary of making completion of such courses a condition of getting a marriage licence."
Mr. Howard said high divorce rates were the result of a period of history in society in which "the value of life-long partnerships and commitments tended to be denigrated".
He said it was very interesting when you read research about the attitudes of young people. The thing they want most is a stable, happy family environment.
Yes, it is interesting PM, especially if, like me, you read some of the on line journals of young gay people because that is exactly what a lot of them want. And that is something you deprived them of. A gay couple is just as capable as a heterosexual couple of wanting a life-long partnership and commitment.
One in three marriages end in divorce and marriage relationship expert Howard wants to cut this. Simple solution, you simple little man, endorse civil unions and watch the long-life partnership and commitment rate soar.
The other item is about a plan to weigh pupils to fight obesity. Primary school heads believe monitoring students weight will help parents keep them healthy and reduce the cost to the community of raising unfit children. I was really hoping that at the end of this item would be a line saying 'HaHa, this was a joke'.
Do they have any idea what this monitoring could do to a child's self esteem? The stress of worrying every minute of the day if the next weigh-in would be up or down is not going to produce mentally healthy children. How would this help parents who allowed the children to become overweight in the first place?
Like Bulimia and anorexia, overeating is also an illness and not all overweight children get that way from sitting in front of a computer and playing video games. Not all children have access to parks or gardens for exercise.
So are the primary school heads going to sort the children into psychological groups as they weigh them?
Are the weigh-ins going to set the foundation for bulimia and anorexia in normal weight children or is it only going to be the fatties singled out?
Eating disorders are a symptom of deeper issues, of control and internalised anger no matter at what age they occur. Instead of keeping their weight under control, children with problems will give up because it's too hard, eat more because of the stress or go to the other extreme and not eat. Specialists in eating disorders constantly say how easily the balance can tip in children.
Are the primary school heads going to employ eating disorder specialists?
They'd be better off looking at the food in their tuckshops and educating children in a balanced diet. Encourage them to learn how to cook especially food from other cultures. Teach them to read the ingredients on labels, to be aware of what they are consuming. This is part of learning about life skills. Find out if the kids have underlying issues.
This is something I know about. I was chubby but not obese as a child and I was under enormous stress. My drug was food, my comfort was food and my hiding place was food. No-one, not parents nor teachers knew the kind of pain I was hiding and in those days they wouldn't have even thought about it. It was a habit that followed me into adult life so I know what a weekly, fornightly or monthly weigh-in at school would have done to me.
Get some commonsense, people, and find a better way, a more positive way to help overweight kids instead of a regime of humilation that wouldn't be out of place at Gitmo.