Sunday, March 2, 2008

Childhood Denials and Orchids

While at the checkout stand at the grocery store last week I noticed an unusually disturbing headline on one of the tabloids. Please keep in mind that this is from memory (I didn't write down the EXACT wording, but this is darn close): "Concern for Suri Cruise grows as she is denied McDonalds and Television"
WHAT? The media is concerned about Suri's development because she isn't a regular at a fast food restaurant and her parents follow the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations to keep children under 2 engaged in activities instead of allowing them to be sedintary and watch television. The article implies that by keeping Suri away from "mainstream" pop culture that she will have an unusual and stressful childhood - that keeping her away from the media might be harming her.  Hmmmmm . . . I guess the media world should worry about my kids, too!
But, it brings me to one of my missions - pass along encouraging, self-esteem building and celebratory information (not celebrity!) that helps people be live to their potential. If there are foods and television shows, books or magazines (or whatever!) that I think will be detrimental to the health of my children, you can bet that I will do my best to steer clear of them. But, rather than moan and complain about the horrors of negative choices, I'll be teaching my children what makes our family's choices positive ones (balanced meals with fresh foods are easier for your body to digest and use as energy for your body, the characters in this book treat one another nicely and work together to solve their problems, getting outside to run around and play is fun and gives us a chance to be creative, etc.).
My trip to the store was eye-opening in a positive way, too:
Amid my horror at the implication that I'm a horrible parent (or anyone else is) because I don't take my kids to fast food restaurants and don't let my 13 month-old watch television, I was plesantly engaged in conversation with the gentleman behind me in line. He wasn't purchasing a week's worth of groceries as I was, but rather 2 orchids from the Floral Department. Now I don't usually visit Safeway to meet my floral needs (unless my son convinces me to let him pick a bunch of cut tulips for me or his dad because they're "so beautiful") so I was a bit curious about his purchase (as was the checkout clerk, who really is the one who struck up the conversation!). He proceeded to open my eyes to a vast world beyond my own little circles of motherhood, book publishing, and running. As it turns out, there are entire societies and clubs dedicated to orchid hybridization, orchid shows, and educating the general public about care and maintenance of orchids. Literally THOUSANDS of varieties of orchids exist, with new varieties being added to the list daily. As I managed to kill off an orchid in less than 4 months, I was amazed that this talented gardener has dedicated time and energy to tending dozens of varieties of orchids - and even creates his own hybrids. He was purchasing the 2 new orchids because they were a variety he hasn't seen in the Olympia area where he lives. Amazing!
It just goes to show - you never know what you'll discover while in the check-out line at the grocery store!

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