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...Just a Minute...

by Jacqueline Sewall Golden

Edition 17

Ive been out of the hands-on raising of children for quite some time now so I've not kept up with the latest in clothing fads, eating trends, the newest drugs, the most clever angles to stay out of jail.  I have been made aware of how manufacturers and their various watchdog groups are trying their damnedest to keep things safe for the little, and not-so-little tykes.  Cribs with ill spaced side slats, car seats that dont stay put, toys that can come apart and choke the little sweetie into silence, all can be subject to very expensive recalls.

     The world is a dangerous place.  People die. Are hurt, maimed, and yes,  you can be poisoned by a dirty strawberry.  Instead of making everything so safe, so clean, so pure, so healthy, why not teach taking care?  Kids are not so dumb they cant figure out that a four thousand pound speeding auto can do something really nasty to their little sixty pound bodies.  Instead of trying to make everything accident proof, why not go to a little trouble and teach responsibility.  That would be too hard and might take too much time.

       Beyond cotton wrapping these precious little ones, we now have to save them from becoming deprived.  Kid birthday party giving is now a competitive sport.  There is pressure on the parents to perform, to produce, to outdo and most of all, to rescue their indifferent little six year old from feeling badly.  So something very expensive, called goody bags, little bundles of toys and treats, are given to children at birthday parties so that they will not feel deprived merely because it is, technically speaking, not their birthday.  Oh, bother.  These parents were obviously those who were chosen last in a ball game and never got over it.

      It is also interesting that the gift of choice these days is money.  Cash on the barrel head.  No need to exercise judgment and observation to determine what Ryan or Tiffany might actually want.  Slip him/her a twenty dollar bill.  As Jon Carroll* says, the good thing about a $20 bill is that you always know exactly how much it costs.



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