Can anybody explain to me the benefit of a 'chocolate drive'? I have never come across one before, but my sons came home with a note last week explaining that they would have to sell Mars Bars to raise money for their primary school. Surely school fundraisers can come up with a more creative and positive way to raise cash? (And don't tell me that if you want to change things you have to get involved, we tried that for much of last year).
And there is a special irony in the fact that yesterday, the day the chocolate packs were given out, was also Day One of Healthy Eating Week in grade prep. "Please send your children in with a healthy lunch today (and we will send them home with a box of high-fat snack food)". I really support the teachers in their efforts to teach prep kids good eating habits and I can't help but feel that they are being undermined, it must be so frustrating for them.
And even more ironic - the money raised from the chocolate drive is being used for the school's environment fund!
Paul and I don't want our kids to be considered 'different' at school, but these are issues that we care passionately about. In our family, fizzy drinks are banned and lollies and crisps are an occasional treat. We don't force these views onto other people and we only ask that they similarly respect our views. We've taught our boys that the best sweet snacks are things like fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts, or home-made cakes. So we talked with the kids about why we don't think a chocolate drive is such a good idea, about fair trade, about global companies marketing to kids, and about childhood obesity, and it was agreed that we will quietly not participate in the chocolate drive, but instead we will make our own donation to the environment fund and at the weekend we will all make a chocolate cake. We're excited about the chocolate cake and have been poring through the Women's Weekly books to find the best one, a new one that we haven't made before!
Some of the other parents have, of course, been compelled to make a big deal about our quiet protest. At least one mum has already told her kid to try and sell some of his chocolate to my youngest son. She thinks she's being clever but she's missing the point - I don't actually really care if my kids eat a bit of junk food here and there, or go to a birthday party at McDonald's or accept a swig of someone's Coke, or sometimes choose the yoghurt with a picture of Shrek on, and they both know that. It's about helping them to grow up with positive values, and to act thoughtfully and with compassion, and to always question things.
And because it's Healthy Eating Week (which should actually be an all-year program in schools these days anyway), do you like these cute apple stickers I bought from this Etsy shop, found via Anastasia?