The Best of the Times, the Worst of the Times

You have NO idea how long I've been wanting to use that post title!

Two recent Times articles that have to do with parenting, education and food, but come from vastly different worldviews:

On the Best side is this excellent treatise involving a restauranteur who believes that "Children's menus are the death of civilization."  Hear, hear!   Based on my experience and observation, kids will eat what they're expected to eat.  When there are no expectations, you can hardly blame them for eating only macaroni and cheese.  It's somewhat endearing at four, but downright embarrassing at fourteen; I've heard more than one high school girl unabashedly admit that she doesn't eat vegetables.  At all.  I'm so grateful to my parents for forcing, bribing and tricking me into eating all sorts of weird things -- from pork rinds to artichokes and snails and tandoori -- those experiences gave me the courage to discover new passions on my own.

In the Worst corner is this article that appears to be making a serious case for labeling foods as choking hazards.  They're actually printing quotes like this:
"You have a SuperBall that by government regulation has to carry warnings telling people it’s a risk to young children and you can’t market it to them, yet you can have the same identical shape and size gumball and there are no restrictions or requirements."

Well, maybe that's because gumballs were INTENDED to be put in your mouth.  And because it's generally expected that parents will use common sense in feeding and supervising their children.  Truly, can we say that it's necessary to affix a warning label to a carrot?  People, it's called common sense and supervision.  And while I can't imagine the horror that parents who have lost a child to choking have experienced, the reality is that accidents happen, even shocking and fatal ones.  Heaping up onerous legislation can't stop them from occurring.  We need to make peace with the unpredictability and fragility of life.