Friday 28 October 2016

Colette Fitzpatrick: We don't need an Easter excuse to fill kids full of junk, we do it all the time

Child with Easter eggs
Father Joseph Olickal told primary school children in Melbourne that the Irishwoman would have been at home in bed on the night she was raped and murdered if she’d been “more faith-filled”.
Jill Meagher was killed after a night out in Melbourne, Australia (Victoria Police/PA)

Do you have a little one who’s at Easter egg receiving age? (What is that now? Three? Two years old? – if you have an elder sibling, perhaps.)

Well, a new survey has revealed that the average child will receive €77 worth of chocolate eggs or presents and will consume 8,000 calories this Easter.  

The UK-based poll also shows that the average parent spends the equivalent of €35 on their child, while other family members and friends spend about €42 on Easter gifts for children. 

Kids normally receive an average of eight Easter eggs. That equates to those 8,000 calories if the average children’s egg contains 1,000 calories. (It can soar to 1,500 calories because many contain chocolate bars or sweets.)

Grandparents, aunts and uncles and family friends are the main people giving Easter gifts, after parents. Thankfully the survey also found the choccy booty is eaten over a number of days.

But a previous survey I came across found that 77pc of adults allow their children to tuck into their Easter egg binge first thing on Easter morning – before having any breakfast or even a drink.

It also found that half of adults treat Easter in a similar way to Christmas i.e. a gorgefest.

But honestly, it feels like this weekend will be like every other for our kids, with everyone raining down sugar on them. Is it any wonder one in four are either overweight or obese?

It’s sort of become the norm to hand out treats and junk food to kids in most social settings. It’s a collective food culture. Kids equals sweets.

It’s traditional or ‘the way it’s always been’ – say anything or object to the supernova of sugar and you violate the code. The code being ‘don’t disrupt social agendas’. 

Feed your kids healthy food, and you’re an anomaly, a food policewoman who’s depriving her kids of their childhood.

You think your kids only get an occasional treat? If every child in every class has a birthday and there’s treats every time to celebrate, on top of all the other ‘special events’, it all accumulates to constant exposure to junk food.

A balanced diet has now become a treat in each hand.

Our parenting often centres on the ‘do this and you’ll get that’ strategy.

Ultimately it fails. Alfie Kohn’s book ‘Punished by Rewards’ reveals that children actually lose interest when the reward, often a treat, disappears.

So by rewarding with junk, you’re actually teaching them nothing other than a love of a sugar rush.

Decades ago at social events cigarettes were routinely smoked around children. Now most people would be shocked to see this.

Maybe, 20 years from now, we’ll look back, stunned at the amount of rubbish we unwittingly handed to our children.


Oppose same-sex marriage all you want, but don't sprout hate-filled bile

IT’s 2015 and some are trying to establish a link between paedophilia and homosexuality. This inaccurate, offensive, dangerous so-called connection was made this week when Maynooth Students’ Union received a postcard from the ‘No way is Ireland Gay Campaign’, whoever they are.

It states that: “Jimmy Saville [sic], Glitter & Harris all propagated homosexual ‘marriage’.”

A report found that Jimmy Savile abused 63 people, 90pc of whom were female. Gary Glitter was jailed for 16 years for historic sex attacks on three schoolgirls. Rolf Harris has 12 sexual assault convictions, one for attacking an eight-year-old.

A note to the sender of this vile card. Free speech is free speech. This is not free speech. This hate speech.


Of course there are gay people who are paedophiles. But as it happens, the majority of convicted paedophiles are actually heterosexual. With your reasoning heterosexuals would also be banned from marrying.

Separately, of course there are gay people who aren’t cut out for parenting in the same way that there are straight people who aren’t either.

While you are perfectly entitled to believe that marriage between two gay people is wrong and to campaign against it, you’re not entitled to spout bile.

The Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989 prohibits incitement to hatred on grounds of sexual orientation. Look it up.

Maybe then try to come up with a sane reason to vote against same-sex marriage.


'Sorry' just made it worse, Father

A PRIEST’S attempts to apologise this week for comments he made about the late Jill Meagher only served to make matters worse. Father Joseph Olickal told primary school children in Melbourne that the Irishwoman would have been at home in bed on the night she was raped and murdered if she’d been “more faith-filled”.

When he went on radio to apologise for the remarks, he didn’t even realise he was compounding his offence.

“When I came to know she was a nice Irish Catholic, I felt very sad about the comment,” he said. What does that mean? If she was Muslim or Hindu or agnostic, he wouldn’t have felt sad? Her religion, Father, was irrelevant.


It's Good Friday to take a day off

If you’re reading this you’re not observing a tradition in many homes for previous generations on Good Friday – a total media blackout. No television, no radio, no papers. Certainly no tweeting or religious selfies at the Stations of the Cross (inset). No uploading pictures of your collation meals on Instagram (they’re the two small meals you’re allowed on fast days). 

It’s Good Friday. Good for whom, though? School children, bankers and most of the public sector. It’s a regular work day for others. What if you’re a secularist who works in the bank? Or the public sector? Or what if you aren’t actually doing any religious observing?

I guess that’s the taxpayer’s cross to bear. But if we really want a day off on the back of religion, shouldn’t we look at days that are associated with all religions?

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