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Mixing Messages

During lunch one day my nephew, Jackson, overheard his mom and me discussing job descriptions.

“I know what my job is,” he interrupted.

I stopped talking to his mother and looked at him closely. There were french fries sticking out of both sides of his mouth, ketchup on his nose, and his glasses were slightly askew. Jackson is only 10 and I wasn’t sure how he interpreted the career of a child, so I decided to ask.

“What is your job?”

“My job is to eat, sleep, and feel good,” he answered.

Jackson’s answer wasn’t too big of a surprise. My boys at his age probably would have said their job was to play basketball, talk on the phone, and sleep every day until noon.

Kids are supposed to eat, sleep, and feel good, but sometimes society sends them mixed messages.

We tell children about the importance of exercising, and then allow them to play video games or watch DVDs with little or no time restrictions.

We teach them at school about the necessity of exercise, but by 9th grade very few physical education classes are offered and usually only one or two are required during the four years of high school.

We tell them about the benefits of good nutrition, and then feed them way too much fast food (and yes, I’m guilty of this one).

We encourage them to remain morally pure, and then allow them to watch television shows and movies that 30 years ago would have been considered unsuitable for anyone to watch.

We tell them to be a good person and treat others the way they would like to be treated, and then fail to take them to church or give them a spiritual foundation.

Jackson knows what his job is. What’s ours?

I think it’s to try to make the world a safer, healthier, better place for Jackson and for all of Kentucky’s kids, and we can begin by not sending any more mixed messages and practicing what we preach.

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