Cynthia Davis, Motivational Expert – Updated
By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson
UPDATES are in italics.
Let’s hear it for Cynthia Davis, state representative from Missouri’s 19th District. She’s found a novel way to motivate low-income youngsters in her state: let them go hungry.
Davis, who chairs the legislature’s Special Committee on Children and Families, is seriously bent out of shape over a news release announcing the state Department of Health and Senior Service’s summer program that will provide free breakfast and lunch to needy children.
On the front page of her web site, just below a photo of her and, presumably, a close relative, gloating over three quart bags of home-grown strawberries, Davis takes a bite out of the program because it costs money, insults parents by implying that they don’t care about nourishing their children, and could be another tear in the fabric of family life. She writes
This program could have an unintended consequence of diminishing parental involvement. Why have meals at home with your loved ones if you can go to the government soup kitchen and get one for free? This could have the effect of breaking apart more families.
The news release says that the current economic downturn will make Missouri’s summer food service program, which fills in for the free and reduced-price meals available during the school year, even more important. Davis replies
They are using a “crisis” to create an expansion of a government program. Parents naturally love their children and enjoy caring for their children just as much as ever during an economic downturn. Most parents put their children first, even ahead of themselves no matter what. If parents are laid off, that doesn’t mean they stop feeding their children, at least not any of the parents I know. Laid off parents could adapt by preparing more home cooked meals rather than going out to eat.
How can this poor excuse for a human being not know that laid-off parents would love to prepare home cooked meals, if only they had money to buy food? She goes on
While nobody is disputing the benefits of nutritious food, why the presumption that parents are not providing nutritious food for their children? Even if they are not, who created a new rule that says government must make up for any lack at home? The problem of childhood obesity has been cited as one of the most rapidly growing health problems in America. People who are struggling with lack of food usually do not have an obesity problem.
Actually, obesity is a growing (so to speak) problem among the poor because the cheapest, most filling foods are those that substitute non-nutritive calories for nourishment. People with little money are apt to live in places where it’s impossible to find, let alone afford, fresh fruits and vegetables. And fresh protein foods — meat, fish, eggs? Forget it. Better yet, next time you’re in a city, go to a low-income neighborhood and see what kinds of foods you can buy there.
For more on the paradox of hunger and obesity, look here.
The program is open to eligible children under 18 — another outrage, as Davis sees it.
Anyone under 18 can be eligible? Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals?
Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break.
Only someone who has never been seriously hungry could say, as Davis says, “Hunger can be a positive motivator.” Only some totally ignorant of the principles of nutrition could suggest working at McDonald’s as a way to get nourished. Stomach filled? Sure. Body nourished? Not by a long shot.
If you doubt this, find a copy of “Supersize Me” and pay attention. You’ll see a healthy-looking, normally-sized man turn into a pasty-faced tubby right before your eyes. How did he do it? By eating nothing but McDonalds food for 30 days.
In the interests of nonpartisanship, I haven’t mentioned this legislator’s party affiliation, but the following should give you a clue.
It really is all about increasing government spending, which means an increase in taxes for us to buy more free lunches and breakfasts. Parents get the same food stamp allotment regardless of how many extra meals are being provided to their children over the summer. This equates to an increase in taxpayer funded food programs.
Hint: What political party is the voice of people opposed to using government funds to help people less fortunate than they are?
Essay question for extra credit: Is there a relationship between this attitude and the fact that said party is currently circling the drain? Why or why not?
You can safely forget that rubbish about breaking families apart. It’s really about greed and indifference to others’ needs, you see.
There’s more, but if I don’t stop soon I may stroke out.
When I was a brand new first-grade teacher, I found myself wondering why so many kids came to school already fidgety and had such difficulty focusing on their learning. It didn’t take long to figure it out; they weren’t getting breakfast at home.
Not far from the school was a Nabisco factory where they packaged shredded wheat and a couple of other cereals. I took myself over there one afternoon and asked to see the plant manager. I told him I had a class of 42 children (yes, I said 42) and many of them came to school hungry. I talked him into delivering cases of cereal to my classroom. I got the cafeteria manager to deliver what was supposed to be the mid-morning snack of fruit and milk first thing in the morning and we had a breakfast of cereal, fruit, and milk to start the day off.
Every one of those kids, none of whom had gone to kindergarten (and this was four years before Sesame Street began teaching preschoolers about numbers and letters) went home at the end of the school year reading my comments on their report cards. That never would have happened if it hadn’t been for the manager at the Nabisco plant.
That’s why I’m so angry with Cynthia Davis. She doesn’t know Shinola about hunger, or poverty. Worse, she doesn’t care, or she’d be boosting the program and finding more money to extend it.
And this is the person who’s supposed to be an advocate for children and families. She ought to be kicked off that committee and out of the legislature.
Would you like to contribute to this legislator’s education? Go see the rest of her screed and then tell her what you think. She says she really wants to know.
Your thoughts are important to me, so please let me know what you think. You can send me your opinion by clicking here. Cynthia Davis