No one wants to see a child injured. Safety is always a priority for parents, and it always has been.
But as I get older, I miss the days when kids were kids, peanut butter sandwiches were allowed at school, trampolines didn’t have a net, and in the ’70’s I don’t think booster seats were even invented yet — mom and dad just tossed us in the back of the car without seatbelts and off we went. There were times we even jumped into the back of a half-ton truck for a ride. But no belts! No harnesses! Oh the humanity!
Sometimes I think the pendulum has swung a little too far in the name of safety. New legislation introduced Monday by the Manitoba government will make booster seats mandatory for children until they meet specific age, weight or height requirements.
Right now, the law says you need a child car seat until a child reaches the age of five or a weight of 50 pounds. The new rules: almost five feet tall, 80 pounds, or nine years old.
Thank God they put an age on this. I know a few tiny women who would come close to breaking the law if they weren’t DRIVING in a booster seat.
But the bonehead of all bubble-wrap proposals was south of the border, just weeks ago. A proposal from the Obama administration, which actually made it to Congress, wanted to prevent children from doing farm chores. (Lazy children around the world cheer here.)
The US Department of Labor put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child labour laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
Under the rules, most children under 18 could no longer work "in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials."
"Prohibited places of employment," a department press release read, "would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions."
So goodbye, peanut butter and BB guns. Goodbye lawn darts and prayer in school. Goodbye Evel Knievel stunts without pads or helmets and now goodbye chores.
So would this mean goodbye 4-H? After all, if we’re putting bubble wrap on our children in the city, surely it is just common sense to extend the bubble wrapping to the family farm.
When I posted this proposed US law on Facebook, reaction was swift and sure. Canada should simply keep its potential bubble wrap in the cupboard where it belongs, and let our neighbors do their own thing.
Dana was the only Facebook friend of dozens to say "it makes complete sense."
Here’s what some others had to say:
• Jody Caslick — "chores are a part of farm life"
• Tammy Pollock — "Wow! Serious? Stupidest thing I have ever heard!"
• Dana Thompson — "OMG! That is outrageous! That is where kids learn life skills, importance of working hard, common sense and so much more!! So sad!"
• Carter Ferguson — "Haha good luck with that one government!"
• Rae-Lynne Gerring — "That's crazy!!! My six-year-old loves doing chores and asks to do them. Her favorite is dishes, and this past weekend she cleaned the toilet. (Not with anything that can hurt her of course, we have the Fantastic flushable brush thing.)"
• Michelle Clement — "that is so stupid kids need chores it teaches them strong work ethic which they need!"
• Lillian Campbell — "they complain that kids are obese and that they should be more active, then they do this?"
• Jodi Holmes Ginter — "what will happen to the 'family farms' then when kids don’t grow up learning how and when things are to be done on the farm!? Farming is NOT a 'job' it is a way of life! What is next kids aren’t going to be able to do household chores either!? The gov't is creating a future society of people that will be lazy and self centered ... then where will the food come from that is to feed the world? It is just a way for the govt to force society into factory farms where the food is filled with chemicals and GMO’s... sad...very sad"
• Shonah Rathwell — "Farm economy is going down already, and without people having an interest or having anything to do with the farm, it’s going to drop even more. Not to mention chores provide physical activity and promote a positive behavior towards the farm life. Taking that away would basically lose their agriculture and raise clueless farmers."
• Jeremy Schmidt — "At least we can say ‘I remember when I was your age’ and actually have something meaningful to say instead of being lazy and irresponsible like some of the kids now a days. It’s great to have fun and relax by enjoying life but there is responsibilities that need to be done as well"
• Ashley Campion — "This is absolutely ridiculous! Do they even listen to what they're saying?! I grew up on a farm my whole life and it has made me who I am. Handling responsibilities, completing tasks, learning life lessons each and every day and so much more. Do you really want to take that away from kids? Go solve a REAL problem!"
• Megan Jeanes — "How are they proposing on enforcing this law? Do random checks and if kids are working outside (the horror!) then you get fined? Seems a little stupid if you ask me."
• Heather Dixon — "Yeah, lets teach kids that hard work isn't important AT ALL. Responsibility? Nah, we'll watch them get fat and play video games because they're NOT ALLOWED to be a part of the family and do some chores! What's next? No household chores in fear they cut their finger on a cheese grater? Drown in the dishwater? Get a grip!"
• Kristy Vermiere — "I completely disagree with this, kids on a farm learn a lot of different survival skills that give them an advantage when looking for jobs when they leave the farm. This is a little over the top, kids have been taught at an early age how to do chores on the farm for many years. To be able to a successful family farm you have to work as a family, so does this mean that if a family owns a restaurant or a grocery store the kids can’t participate in the family business till there over 18. What kind of sense does this make?"
• David Adams may have the most logical approach to the controversy — "Maybe it is the governments way of tricking the kids.
Telling them they can't will make them do it that much more...."
After the show, and discussion, it was certainly one of the most asked-about shows as I took my kids to sports, talked to people on location, or was stopped while shopping.
Is this a real law? most asked. It was. The Department of Labor terminated the proposal on April 27, throwing cold water on the debate.
I guess they realized bubble wrap is made in China. There simply wasn’t enough on hand.
In the meantime, let’s have some fun. And leave the bubble wrap to the post office.
JOKE THIS WEEK
There once was a farmer who was raising three daughters on his own. He was very concerned about their well being and always did his best to watch out for them.
As they entered their late teens, the girls dated, and on this particular evening all three of his girls were going out on a date. This was the first time this had occurred. As was his custom, he would greet the young suitors at the door holding his shotgun, not to menace or threaten but merely to ensure that the young man knew who was boss.
The doorbell rang and the first of the boys arrived.
Father answered the door and the lad said, "Hi, my name's Joe. I'm here for Flo. We're going to the show, is she ready to go?" The father looked him over and sent the kids on their way.
The next lad arrived and said, "My name's Eddie. I'm here for Betty. We're gonna get some spaghetti. Is she ready?" Father felt this one was okay too, so off the two kids went.
The final young man arrived and the farmer opened the door.
The boy started off, "Hi, my name's Chuck..."
And the farmer shot him.
- Julie Grant
- Melissa Burkart
- Jennifer Hart-Enns
- Aaron Miner
- Debbie Hutchings
- Chantelle Fitzpatrick
- Coreena Wingert Fedak
- Lucille Pott
- Kristy Turnbull
- Darby Nolan
- Heather R Wilson
- Stephanie Meadows
- Janelle Weber
- Jason O'neill
- Cynthia Fontaine
- John Chorney
- Courtney Fluker
- Cheryl McKinnon
- Kristina Blifernetz
- Sarah Ruston
- Tracy Delgaty Ferguson
- Jean Allan Carriere
- Christine Mary Judd
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 5, 2012