For our pledge drive local businesses donate prizes and gifts to give to the people who donate to our pledge drive...it is a way of saying thanks to the donors for us, and a bit of free adverts for them.
One of our donated gifts this year bothers me. Deeply.
It is THIS:
Yes - it is a kids "first fitness" exercise walker. I'll say that again so you can feel how creeped out I am:
A kids exercise walker
Jesus, Mary and Joseph on a pogo stick...
The company also makes a an indoor exercise bike for kids...Awhah??
Now, I should clarify that they're not all bad...they have a Rainy Day playset...which is a swing you can mount in a doorway. That IS cool. I get what they're trying to do, I just look at it and think...do kids need this kind of forced exercise? Are we really that terrible of role models that this is the only kind of exercise we can show them? Are we that paranoid or just lazy about our kids that we can't put them into scouts, soccer, ball or...go for walks with them or something? If nothing else we can shove them out in the yard or on a bike or into a park to play a bit. Gods...I even know someone who took their kids to ballroom dancing class just to get them out doing something. To teach them this WE have to be doing something...
I think one of the reason this bugs me so much is I grew up an overweight kid. I would have been horrified to have been given this. I'm sure all the softball, soccer, volleyball and track teams I got stuck on to do a bit of activities hated me being there...I pretty much sucked at everything except volleyball and figure skating. I wasn't even remotely a top athlete...but my home town was so small we all had to play all the sports or else we didn't have a team. And I played them all. I really hated broomball so I got to finally quit it, but I did have to at least try it out before I quit. My mom sent me to day camps and summer camps, took us swimming and walking and even got me a "Mousercise" exercise LP. We skipped and biked and played hopscotch. We played "near and far" with Grover on rainy days running around the living room. Plus Mousercise was AWESOME. It had dance around exercisey type stuff to do to Disney songs...it was fun. My friends came over just to do it. Mom tried, I'll give her that!
Thing is, I was an active kid...I just ate WAY too much. Mom worked nights so Dad & I fended for ourselves or ate what she left...and I learned to eat as much as my Dad, or eat quick before he ate it. Dad's a big guy. I had no sense of portions and he never took food away from me or was able to limit my snacks much...had I had some lessons in food portions and healthy food eating and I'd have been much thinner...I think a lot of issues in kids being overweight is less activity, but also WAY more food for ALL ages.
If my Mom had brought this home to try and help me lose weight I would have been HORRIFIED. It wouldn't have been fun. I wouldn't have used it and I likely would have hated the elliptical that I now (for whatever reason) love to use when it's blizzardy or rainy...I wouldn't have realised fitness could be fun or know the rush I get from a good run.
When I see something like this I want to gather parents together and go NONONONONO! Be examples to your kids! Be more active. Teach them how to PLAY! Give them good food. They will be what we let them be.
Help me out here? By giving our kids this aren't we teaching them to live sedentary lives with bursts of planned exercise? I'm not dissing the exercise, really I'm not. I just don't see how you make active adults starting out with this...? Everyone I've asked at the pledge drive says they would never give this to their kid...it's more $$ than a bike, so they'd get them a bike and some skates or skis instead...I don't have kids so I largely feel like I"m talking out of my ass but it just seems so very very wrong to me :)
What do you guys think?
I leave you with this dance track I like to run to...partly as it has lines in it I sang when I would double dutch skip singing Hot Dog as a kid...you know...playing? :)
(yes the video is lame...the song? Good...)