Monday, October 04, 2010

What are they teaching our kids at school?!

At Julian's school, I know they talk a lot about nutrition and healthy food choices. They talk about go foods (things you can eat pretty much all the time), slow foods (things you can eat in moderation), and whoa foods (things you should eat very occasionally or sparingly). In theory, I'm good with this. I try to teach my kids how to choose wisely when they're eating, that fruits and vegetables are good and important for us to eat, and that it's not good for them to live on junk food or drink soda every single day. I want them to be strong and healthy, and I know a good diet is an important part of that. (I use the word "diet" here in the sense of what they eat, not in the sense of a restricted calorie eating plan. You shouldn't have to worry about that kind of diet when your oldest is just 8.)

But I wonder if perhaps this message isn't being taken a little bit too far at too young of an age. Julian has gotten very interested with looking at labels to see how much fat and sugar and calories something has, almost to the point of obsession. He seems to equate "sugar-free" and "zero calories" and "fat-free" with "healthy", not realizing that artificial sweeteners and whatever's put into the food to add flavor when the fat is taken out aren't necessarily any better for you than sugars and fats in moderation. (And not realizing that your body needs a certain amount of good fats to function properly.)

Take today, for instance. We went to the grocery store to get prescriptions filled, and while we waited, we picked up a few odds and ends. We were looking at the canned fruit, and I went to get a can of pears (something Julian normally likes, and something we're introducing to Rhys). Julian latched onto the can that said "made with Splenda" on the label, saying that he liked that one. I said no, let's get one made with pear juice, one that doesn't use artificial sweeteners. He just about threw a tantrum over those pears, insisting that the ones with Splenda were better because they had less sugar. I said, so you'd rather have one that uses fake sugar over one that uses the actual juice from the pear? He persisted in saying he would, because it has less calories. Later on, he saw a "sugar-free" label on something else and made a comment that that means it's healthy. Um, no, that doesn't necessarily follow. I'm trying to teach him that it's OK to eat things made with real sugar and real butter, just in moderation. If you want a cookie, have one made with real sugar instead of six that are sugar-free. If you want butter on your toast, have a little. I don't want him obsessing over calories and body image - not ever, and certainly not at 8 years old.

I know there are probably kids who hear the same things he hears at school and don't get the least bit hung up on it, and don't take to reading labels fanatically, but he's mine, and he is hung up on it, and he's the one I have to worry about. I may have to check to see just exactly what they're learning on this topic. Promoting good nutrition and offering healthier school lunches is one thing. Pushing some kind of agenda in the guise of good nutrition, if that's what's happening, would be something else entirely.

Living in God's will

We're having a revival at church this week. The evangelist speaking is Rick Coram. Let me tell you, when he brings the Word of God, it is BROUGHT. I've been there working in the a/v booth the past two nights, and God can definitely use him to get someone's attention.

Sunday night's sermon was great - the topic was "Do You Live In A Strong House?" I may talk more about that later, but tonight, I want to talk a little bit about tonight's message.

Brother Rick preached on Jonah 1:1-3. Y'all may remember the story of Jonah from Sunday school, how he didn't do what God asked and ended up being swallowed by a fish and staying there for 3 days and 3 nights. The point of tonight's message was that if you aren't living in God's will, it's going to be a rough go for you.

I thought about this particularly in relation to my job. I've done a whole bunch of whining about not liking my job, wanting a new job, and so on and so forth. Last week God really smacked me upside the head about it. I whined and complained and wondered why God hadn't opened any doors for me to get out of this place where I've been so miserable, and He hit me right between the eyes: Lisa, you're there because that's where I want you right now. So I had to apologize to God for being such a whiny pants, and for letting the fact that I didn't like where I was and didn't want to be there keep me from doing my absolute best (because if I'm completely honest with myself, I haven't been doing my best). So, hearing tonight's message confirmed for me that things have been miserable for so long there because I've been doing what Jonah did - running from God, telling Him, "no, I don't want to do this, give me something else to do instead". It also confirmed for me that right now, yes, here IS exactly where He wants me, and when He's ready for me to be somewhere else, He'll make it so. Until then, it's up to me to do the best job I can and to be thankful that I know I'm in good hands, even if it's not where I'd choose to be if it were left totally up to me.

As our associate pastor says, "All the time God is good, and God is good all the time." He is, for a fact. I may still grumble about my job from time to time (don't we all?), but the whining will be reduced to a bare minimum. I'm thankful that, in this at least, I'm living right where God wants me to be - in His will.