One of the advantages of running our own business is that we can set out own hours, to a degree.
By working 6am-9pm on Mondays, 9am-8pm on Tuesdays and normal days Wednesday and Friday, I don’t feel too guilty in having Thursdays off to spend with Alex, Jamie and Izzie.
Last week Alex had to swap her day off, so she was in work and Izzie was with her Dad on the Thursday.
So it was just me and little Hammy (or Hambo, Hammer, Hammertime, Hamster, Ham Sandwich, Hams, Little Ham Lad or all manner of other Ham related nicknames he seems to have picked up over the last couple of years).
In the afternoon we headed down to Ashbourne to see my nephew and niece’s end of term assembly and take them to paint a Triceratops for their Dad’s Birthday.
Having moved up from Kent, they now live with my Dad and go to my old primary school.
So I entered the school hall for the first time in 23 years.
It had shrunk somewhat.
The assembly was cool, if a little long.
Good to see them both get a certificate.
But I was somewhat saddened at the focus on chocolate.
It was given out as a prize.
And at the end they all sang ‘The Chocolate Song’.
“Oh I’ve got lots of chocolate
Give me lovely chocolate
It’s the best thing to eat for sure”
As they all rubbed their tummies and salivated at the thought.
Now, I like chocolate as much as the next person.
And I know some people will see me as a curmudgeon for this.
But is teaching children from a young age that chocolate is ‘better’ than other foods, giving them the best start to life?
It’s not even real chocolate either – chocolate coated sugar usually.
We deal with people on a daily basis who are pretty much addicted to chocolate and cake.
And, from our experience, a big part of it is how it was presented when they were growing up.
You know “Finish your main course and you can have some chocolate / cake”.
“Eat your greens and I’ll get you some chocolate / cake”.
“Be good and you can have some chocolate / cake”.
“You can have some chocolate / cake as a special treat”.
Parents wide eyed with joy and excitement as they talk about it or consume it themselves.
All instilling on that blank canvas of a brain that chocolate and cake are the best.
I let my kids have chocolate and cake.
But, it’s never a ‘treat’.
And, not on a daily basis (how can something be a ‘treat’ if you have it daily anyway).
If they have it at a party, or a friend’s house, that’s cool.
And if they want it when they’re old enough to make their own choices, that’s fine.
But I don’t want to instill in them the same relationship with it that makes so many people unhappy as adults.
And, if reading this helps even one of you question your own relationship with chocolate and cake or the relationship that you might be forming in your own children, then it will have been worth writing.
Jon ‘Was never prouder than when Oli said ‘If I’m a good boy can I have some extra broccoli?’ Hall and Matt ‘Not keen on broccoli’ Nicholson