On the way to the airport, I passed the same sign that has been up for the last 9 years.
THREAT LEVEL ORANGE!!!
Several more reminders in the airports that the 'powers that be' have determined our threat level is orange. In case you forgot. In case you go more than an hour without being reminded of 9/11 in an airport, or in case you relax a little. Would any of us do anything differently if the threat level was green? I suppose I would pay attention to a red, since I don't think there has been one for years...
Since 9/11 we have constant reminders that we're not safe, with warnings of enemies real and imagined. I remember how often I had to turn off the radio for months after the terrible attacks as the pundits spun out elaborate scenarios of planes full of anthrax dusting our coasts and how easy it would be to destroy us all. I know how much that spoiled my days. How we are reminded for weeks that some terrorist is going to be arraigned next week, he's going to be arraigned tomorrow, today, last week. Hourly reminders....
It reminds me of that state we have gotten to with kids and food. How many people can just enjoy being with their kids and feeding them-one of the purest, most elemental expressions of loving and caring? Instead, with the relentless drumbeat today of hype-the continuous "threat level orange" around feeding, the experience is spoiled for most parents and for most children, and it is interfering with our natural capabilities with eating.
Some recent emails, conversations and news stories illustrate a few fears.
Parents worry about:
getting all the fruits and vegetables in
calcium for bones
pesticides and ADHD
mercury in fish
not enough protein
too much protein
too much fat
too much sugar
hormones in milk
salmonella in eggs
salmonella in chicken
e.coli in meat
e.coli in spinach
high fructose corn syrup
when to start your child on a diet
how to avoid encouraging disordered eating
how to instill positive body image
how to get kids "60 minutes of uninterrupted physical activity" every day
when to find time to cook
how to afford organics
how to afford enough food. period.
BPA in cans and water bottles
Does this list sound familiar? What are your worries? What would it be like not to hear or read about obesity or protein or BPA in the news every day?
My first 'tag-line' was "take anxiety and conflict off the menu..." Sure, occasionally there is cause for concern, but most often our worries only spoil our experiences, color how we feed, invite pressure and fear into the feeding relationship and no one benefits.
I'd love to declare a "level green" month for feeding, with a moratorium on the stories designed to generate fear and anxiety. I know before I found the feeding dynamics model, that I was scared by the news stories and it changed how I fed. How about you?