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"The New Puritans"

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#1 huiray

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 01:01 PM



"Last month, at a birthday party for a three-year-old, I was hit with the realization that most of the parents around me were in the grip of moral panic, the kind of fear of contamination dramatized so well in The Crucible. One mother was trying to keep her daughter from eating a cupcake, because of all the sugar in cupcakes. Another was trying to limit her son to one juice box, because of all the sugar in juice. A father was panicking because there was no place, in this outdoor barn-like space at some nature center or farm or wildlife preserve, where his daughter could wash her hands before eating. And while I did not hear any parent fretting about the organic status of the veggie dip, I became certain there were such whispers all around me."


" I was surrounded by the new Puritans: self-righteous, aspiring toward a utopian perfectionism, therefore condemned to perpetual anxiety—and in their anxiety, a threat to me and my children."



#2 BeeZee

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 12:47 PM

a generation of children living anxious lives. When I was a child, maybe 6 years old, a playmate shoved a handful of dirt into my mouth. I ran to my mother in horror, "I ate dirt!". She shrugged.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

#3 Panaderia Canadiense

Panaderia Canadiense
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Posted 23 July 2013 - 01:06 PM

I seem to recall that there have been studies done that showed that eating a bit of dirt, getting grubby, and eating with kid-grubby hands actually helped to bolster children's immune systems and led to a lower incidence of allergies....  These poor, neurotic parents nowadays who are so fixated with hygiene are probably doing their kids a disservice not only psychologically but also physically.  Just saying, this really sounds like another instance of Helicopter Moms to me.  At what point did children become so fragile that they were no longer allowed to find their own boundaries physically?
BeeZee - my mom used to let me eat carrots out of the garden so long as I "wiped most of the dirt off in the grass first" - and to this day nothing tastes quite as good to me as a fresh-harvested carrot with still a bit of gritty garden soil stuck to it.  With my young cousins, I do the same exact thing.  They're kids, not grownups, which means that they should be getting dirty and drinking juice and not washing their hands obsessively, and yes, eating slightly dirty carrots that they wiped on the lawn.  Equally, I'm absolutely the last person to restrict juice or cupcake intake at a party.  Kids aren't stupid - they know this is a special occasion and that sweets like the cupcake are treats.  Juice on the other hand?  Jeez, I'm thrilled they want the fruit instead of artificially flavoured and coloured carbonated sugar water concoctions.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
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