I watched the documentary Super Size Me last night. That's the film about the guy who decided to eat exclusively at McDonald's for thirty days, to see what would happen. It was sort of entertaining, if only to see that the story unfolds exactly as one might expect. The guy gains weight and feels like crap. Are you surprised? I wasn't.
Does anyone out there actually think that eating all of your meals in a fast-food joint is good for you? Never mind. Don't answer that. It seems that a lot of people were dropped on their heads as babies, and as a consequence aren't able to think and reason. Or, maybe, they can think and reason, but simply choose not to. It is much easier, after all, to blame someone else for your woes. Personal responsibility? Whoever heard of such a thing! Not these whiners. What do they do instead? They sue. Or, they get together with a whole bunch of other losers, and sue in a class action suit. Why not? Trial lawyers have to make a living too, right?
What a bunch of crap.
Why blame McDonald's or Burger King or Wendy's or Taco Bell, because stupid people do stupid things? I weigh a few pounds more than I would like, and I occasionally (gasp) eat at fast food joints. Is it their fault that I am not as fit as I was in my twenties? No, it is my fault, because I spend much of my time sitting on my ass. I don't get nearly enough exercise. And, to make matters worse, I eat cake, pies, and cookies. And bread. All things that are pretty much guaranteed to add pounds to my once-studly frame. I know that these things are not good for me, but I eat them anyway. Should cakes and pastries be outlawed, because I have a sweet tooth?
What is wrong with us? We do stupid, self-destructive things, knowing exactly what will be the outcome, then we blame someone else.
Parents complain about the pervasive advertising used by fast food chains and by cereal manufacturers. Kids see the commercials, then whine until they get a Happy Meal or a bowl of Froot Loops. Do kids really have to get their way all the time? Have the parents heard that 'no' is a perfectly acceptable answer, and that it should be used often and with emphasis when dealing with their kids? I have never allowed my son to eat sugary cereal. Now, he doesn't ask for it. He will occasionally eat at a Wendy's, but shuns McDonald's and Burger King. Why? Because his mother and I do the same, usually. We will, now and again, have an Egg McMuffin when we travel, but otherwise we stay away from McDonald's. I listened to a lot of whining from my son when he was little, but he soon learned that when daddy said no, it meant no, and would stay no, regardless of how many tears and pouts were engaged in fruitless efforts to sway me.
I have never seen my son at the sugar bowl. A bag of sugar lasts for years in our home. It is rarely used. My son is allowed soft drinks only on weekends, and then only one per day. That's probably too much.
I'm not trying to tell you how good a father I am. I screw up as a dad as much as anyone. All I am saying is that being a parent means being responsible. When your kids want to do something stupid, don't let them. If they want to blame something on someone else, don't let them. If they get used to doing whatever they want with impunity, they will turn out to be whiny, snivelling, irresponsible adults. We really don't need any more of those.
What do I mean? Glad you asked. The halls of academia, the corridors of power, and the streets of our cities are already filled with people who refuse to accept responsibility for themselves. And the problem appears to be growing exponentially. With every year that goes by, we seem to have a doubling of whining by the masses. Why do these people whine? Because others listen. We have lost the ability to distinguish imaginary suffering from the real deal, and we are paying the price.
What to do, to solve this problem?
Let's stop listening. It's not all your fault. You are not responsible for my problems, nor I for yours. Next time someone whines to you about how nothing is fair and how everyone is taking advantage of them, simply turn a deaf ear. You will be doing us all a huge favour. And you'll be doing the whiner a big favour too. He or she will learn that they will have to fend for themselves, make their own decisions, suffer for their own mistakes, and celebrate their own victories. Then, they just might develop some self-esteem and stop whining.