No, this post is not about the internet packets of information known as cookies, sometimes used to track web usage.
Incredibly, at least 44 cereals contain more sugar than do several popular brands of cookies (Sugar in Children's Cereals published by the Environmental Working Group and featured in a New York Times’ column by Mark Bittman, The Problem with Breakfast for Children, December 8, 2011).
Nutritionists and other health advisers emphasize that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So, feeding children breakfast cereals full of addictive high fructose corn syrup may make parents feel good but directly feeds the nation’s growing waistlines that are spreading to our children while providing future job security for healthcare workers who will treat the multiple problems most obese people develop.
Bittman highlights the powerful role that advertising plays in cultivating demand among children for products with high sugar content. This is simply one more reason to turn off (or even to disconnect) the TV, encouraging physical activity among children. (In some states, parents without TVs have faced child abuse charges, but, to the best of my knowledge, no state has acted against parents who have a TV permanently turned off.)
On a more serious note, children, each a gift from God, are a family’s and nation’s most precious resource for the future. The current obesity crisis graphically underscores the importance of quality child rearing, an activity that requires investing time even more than money (not that raising a child is ever inexpensive!). Western societies generally devalue stay-at-home parents, yet the contribution and work that such parents do is truly a priceless gift. I wonder what Jesus might have been like had both of his parents worked 60 hours per week to buy him the latest and greatest of everything?