Everyone wants to eat in a health food restaurant, right? Because it’s healthy. You can’t spell “Health Food Restaurant” without the word “Healthy” and it says “Health Food Restaurant” in big letters right there over the door.
The menu is replete with healthy choices–low carb, no sugar, gluten free, and whole grains. Vegetables abound. Eating this stuff is how you get healthy, lose weight, feel good about your diet, feel good about yourself. Eating at a health food restaurant is the first step in living a healthy life.
Of course there, at the bottom of the menu, is one more entree. Listed last, after the tofu, veggie burger, seitan, carrots and quinoa are two words: “fried” and “chicken.”
And that’s what pretty much everybody orders.
Owners of health food restaurants know what their customers order. They tally up the meals at the end of the shift:
Wheat Grass, 1
Whole Grain Smoothie, 1
Avocado and Purified Sawdust, 1
Fried Chicken, 978
Whoever said, “Eating healthy doesn’t make you live longer, it just feels that way” was ordering the fried chicken for sure.
At the library, the same thing happens. No the children aren’t eating Brussel sprouts in the stacks. The children are ignoring books of all kinds in favor of computers. A Wrinkle in Time; To Kill a Mockingbird; Island of the Blue Dolphins; Ramona Quimby, Age 8: The Phantom Tollbooth; and Old Yeller all wait patiently on the shelves while children sign on to Facebook, “just for a minute.” Putting computers in a library makes as much sense as having an open bar at an AA meeting.
And don’t tell me that the kids are on the computers reading interactive novels because they’re not. I did extensive, methodologically precise, sophisticated research on the subject of “computer usage in public libraries” (read: I took my kids to the library the other day and looked around.) The children on the computers were “reading” in the same sense that picking your nose is “exercising.”
The kids on the computers weren’t deeply engrosses in a novel art form. They were drowning in social media.
Unless, of course, they were playing “Shoot, Shoot, Shoot, Blood, Blood, Blood, Kill, Kill.”
It’s one thing to pay $600 for a one-year gym membership. It’s something else entirely to get up early, five days a week, rain or shine, and get your sorry butt onto those treacherous weight machines last used in the Spanish Inquisition.
How do we encourage our children to love to read? Follow this simple two-step plan:
1) Model reading. Get off your own darn computer and read a book. You heard it here first.
2) Unplug all your screens–TV, computer games, video of all kinds.
But wait! There’s more! Here’s a bonus suggestion absolutely free!
3) When your child comes home with an insipid worksheet–“read this insipid paragraph then answer these picayune questions,” a paper seemingly designed to lessen your child’s potential loving relationship with the written word, just say no! Tell your kid not to spend time on the homework; instead, tell her to read a book.
What were your favorite books as an adolescent? Would you have read as much if the alternative was to play “Shoot, Shoot, Shoot, Blood, Blood, Blood, Kill, Kill, Kill” seven hours a day?
I await incoming.