Do you find it as agonizing as I do to confront the proliferating choices at the grocery store? All I wanted was to buy some orange juice. But because some child somewhere wouldn’t drink orange juice if it actually contained tiny bits of orange known as ‘pulp,’ a whole industry responded.
Now I have to decide between some pulp, no pulp, and extra pulp. What is regular orange juice? and why can’t a kid just drink it as it is? Come to think of it, who is responsible for the absurd varieties of any given product? Was it you? Or was it me on some weird food trend? Read Barry Schwartz on the Paradox of Choice and you will understand why going shopping nowadays engenders debilitating self-doubt and dread.
We live in a kid-centered culture, where most restaurants provide ‘kid menus,’ where the child is idealized and where the need of the child trumps all other priorities. My question is how do we know what a child needs? Is it the same as what the child wants? Sure, she refused to drink the juice with pulp, but if she had no choice she eventually would have swallowed those pesky bits. Doesn’t she need to learn to tolerate some discomfort? I know I do. I go to yoga; I meditate; I torture myself in a variety of ways just so that I can experience the freedom that comes from being able to tolerate some discomfort. Do I want to take that away from my child just because it is easier to please her?