Archive for the ‘Consumerism’ Category

Candy and toys

March 10, 2011

So, Daniel and I don’t like for the kids to eat candy.  I haven’t read a tremendous about this subject, but intuitively, I know that fruits and vegetables are good for them and that processed, calorie dense, sugar laden candies are probably not so good for them.  Secretly, I believe that eating sugar and candy as a child dictates the way your body reacts to and processes sugars and fats.  Sure maybe it sets lifelong habits and that is a problem, but what worries me more is that it’s actually changing the structure of their bodies in some way.  Maybe in the greater evolutionary sense, on a million years, children will have evolved to process calorie dense foods and loads of sugar, but I don;t think my kids are ready for that and ultimately, I believe that it will lead to problems down the road like high triglycerides, diabetes and obesity.

Here’s the interesting part.  I actually believe the same thing about buying them toys and trinkets at the store.  We often go to town with my grandmother on Fridays.  She gets her hair done, we have lunch with my Uncle John, we get her groceries and then we go to Alleghany Cares.  Alleghany Cares is a local thrift store.  My grandmother likes to look at furniture for the barn and apartments.  I like to look at sheets which I use for fabric in sewing and my crazy daisy dishes which aren’t made anymore.  And the kids always get a toy.  They look forward to it all morning and it’s what makes them sit through the hour of hair doing at the beauty shop, the long conversation over lunch and the grocery shopping.

I just can’t help but wonder what happens to kids when they gets endless toys and trinkets to bring home from the world.  I really secretly believe that it changes their brains.  I believe it sets them up to become victims of consumerism.  They become people who go into the world and gather things to take back home.  I can see why we have that urge coming from a long line of Savannah hunters and gatherers.  But in a world where THINGS are everywhere, slowly taking over our homes, we really can’t afford to be this way and I wonder if letting them get that toy is starting them down a path consumption that will have a negative impact on their lives.  Maybe I am helping to hard wire them into consumerism?

I am comforted by Steven Pinker’s idea of the blank slate.  Also, after reading this post, you should refer to Annie Leonard’s book The Story of Stuff.  There is a 20 minute video here.  When I teach The Story of Stuff in my classes, I always give a lecture on postmodernism.  Someday I will post that lecture.