I’ve been a supporter of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign since it launched three and a half years ago. I was even one of a handful of people invited to attend the first Let’s Move! White House Tweetup where I got to meet key advisers of the campaign and watch the first lady harvest the White House garden with schoolchildren.
Although much of what Let’s Move! gets attention for is about healthy eating, a good part of it is about exercise, too. It’s right there in the name — move. So the U.S. Postal Service decided to put out a set of Forever stamps that commemorates Let’s Move! showing kids exercising.
There are reports on Obama Foodorama, ABC News and other sources that say the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and a representative from the Let’s Move! campaign are concerned that the stamps are unsafe. Their release has been stopped, and there are some reports that the stamps are going to be destroyed.
Three of the 15 stamps that show kids engaged in regular childhood physical activities are in question. One shows a child doing a cannonball into a swimming pool. A second shows a child on a skateboard without kneepads. And a third, and this is the one that I just can’t believe is a problem, shows a child doing a handstand, without a helmet.
Take a minute to let that sink in. Children should have to wear a helmet to do a handstand.
If today was April 1, I would think this whole story was an April Fool’s joke. I’m still not sure someone hasn’t been fooled. Maybe we’re going to find out sometime soon that this story is not true. But for now, news outlets are going with it, saying that a set of stamps that was ready for release will not be released because the White House is afraid children will get the wrong idea. I have to wonder if the White House is just covering itself legally.
It’s not too ridiculous to think that a parent, whose child needs stitches in her knee because she cut it up while skateboarding, might sue the government for telling her kid, through a stamp, that it’s OK to ride her skateboard without kneepads. It’s ridiculous that a parent would actually sue over that, but we all know lawsuits like that get attempted.
You know, I often hear people joke about how we should wrap our children in bubble wrap to keep them safe. I always respond that if we did that, they’d just jump on each other to make the bubbles pop. You can’t assure that children will never get cuts, bruises, scrapes, broken bones and other injuries.
When my oldest son was in third grade, he broke his arm on the school playground “skydiving” off a swing. The school had just built a new playground and installed several inches of tire mulch. My son was not the only child to break a limb on the playground that year doing some sort of jump off of something, and I was told he wasn’t the only one who said he thought he was safe because of the tire mulch.
I understand wanting to protect children, but I think that pulling these stamps is just a wasteful, futile effort. Kids need the adults in their lives to teach them about dangers, give them the skills and reasonable equipment to keep them safe, and then be there to care for them when the inevitable bumps, bruises, and yes, occasional trip to the ER, happen.
Let kids do cannonballs, but teach them to only do them in the deep end of the pool. Let them skateboard and keep a good supply of bandages in the house. And, as for the headstands — I don’t even know what to say about that one. Tell them not to do it on concrete? I’m pretty sure kids are smart enough to figure that one out on their own.
What do you think? Is the White House being responsible or is it overreacting by pulling these stamps?
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