Would you let your child do this?

rachel98September 27, 2006

A few months ago my husband and I found a church that we love. Our daughter Sarah (12 years old) and son Adam (10) have started participating in the youth progam. This Saturday the church youth program is having an event called "Messy Olympics" where they let the kids have a massive food fight. They sent out a letter that said that the kids would be given pies, buckets of baked beans, spaghetti-o's, chocolate sauce, raw eggs, pudding, peanut butter, ketchup, mustard, ect. They said that kids should wear swimsuits or old shorts and T shirts and bring goggles and a towel and a change of cloths. The other parents who have seen this said that the kids get totally covered from head to food and that they have a lot of fun. I don't know why, but the thought of Sarah and Adam doing something like this makes me uncomfortable. Am I crazy? The kids said they feel a little nervous about it but that it would be cool to see what it's like to be in a food fight. I would be interested in hearing about how other parents would feel about their kids doing something like this.

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It's wasteful. There is no justifiable excuse for wasting that much food. I am not comfortable with the idea that a Church sponsors the event instead of giving the same amount of food to the homeless or poor in the area.

Are they giving the children a good message about sharing with the less fortunate? There are too many other ways to have fun. This kind of thing shouldn't be included. If that makes me some kind of old fuddy-duddy, then so be it!

I think I would explain very carefully to the child why it's not a good idea and then I might look for another church.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 8:54PM
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A local supermarket is donating old food that would be thrown out anyway. From what I understand they have done this for the last seven years. Another thing that I forgot to add is that the students are being asked to bring canned goods for donation so they are really trying to show that no food is being "wasted".

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 9:02PM
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I got to tell you that raw eggs that are too "old" aren't something the kids will enjoy.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 9:36PM
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I wouldn't let my kids participate. Egg tosses and water balloon tosses are about as far as I would let my kids go. I would think that a lot of that food could have been donated to a better cause at some point. Even stuff past it's due date can be used by soup kitchens if it isn't too far past the date. If this food is really so old that no one could use it, then I would have food poisoning or some other health concerns about coming in contact with it.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 10:03PM
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Why not? If the kids are having good "Clean" fun...not out getting into trouble, what harm is it doing? Take a step back and think of that. What other things can 10 - 12 and older be doing...having sex, doing drugs, breaking into houses (Yes kids that age do all those things...in ANY area of the US, and in any socio-economic group). SO, let's see, what would I rather my child be doing....bad things or or having church sponsored fun....It's a no brainer to me...having church sponsored fun.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 10:34PM
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I would feel uncomfotable about this as well.

I believe we are all so blessed to have enough food to eat, and out of respect for the people that dont, we should certainly not just throw it around all over the place.

I am sure the children's efforts could be better used by having a water bomb fight, make water bombs out of oragami folds, fill with water and away you go. Water pistols.

But, I guess just cause I feel like this, I would also think of the benefits of the situation...like good social time for kids.

I dont think this would happen in Australia, it seems to be an American thing, food fights, am I right ??


    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 10:46PM
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What a strange activity. For a church to sponsor a fight of any kind, even a food fight, strikes me as very odd and certainly sets a bad example for children. I can see why you feel uncomfortable. There are certainly better ways of socializing our children than doing something wasteful and belligerent.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 11:17PM
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It does seem a little obnoxious to me. And, I guess they could just be watching a movie or doing something a little more productive.

But, it sort of reminds me one of the funnest times I ever had; That was playing mud volleyball in college.

I would think it would be very memorable and fun for them. Now if they really don't want to do it, I wouldn't make them. But, I doubt any real harm can come from it.

And, considering it's just once a year, I think most kid's parties usually find a way to waste even more money than could be wasted with this food fight. Most entertainment costs and, in a way, wastes money; I think you're getting off cheap.

I do hope the food isn't "that" old and, most importantly, I hope you don't have to drive them home in those dirty clothes! Let them do it; it will be a night they won't forget. They're only kids once.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 11:25PM
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Oh my....why not? Messy? Sure...kids love messy. Lots better than mud fights. Wasting food? Likely not much more than serving food to kids that age, or what they toss in the trash at a noon meal at school.
Give them your blessing and tell them enjoy! Kids need to be kids now and then.
You call it a food fight....the church is calling it "Messy Olympics"...perhaps you are not understanding the purpose and thrust of the whole event.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 12:43AM
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Thank you for all of your comments so far. I looked around on the internet and found that a lot of churches have events like this, so it I guess it isn't that big a deal. My kids are really good students and good kids and it might be good for them to get to brake loose and do something wild and crazy for once. I guess as a mom, the idea of someone dumping a bucket of spaghetti-o's over my beautiful daughter's head was a little scary. One thing is for sure, it will be a day Sarah and Adam will never forget! I would be interested in hearing any more comments anyone has.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 9:48AM
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"My kids are really good students and good kids and it might be good for them to get to brake loose and do something wild and crazy for once."

You know, I think this is a really valuable insight. Everyone needs to break loose and do something wild every so often, and here's a perfectly safe, supervised, rated-G chance.

I am sensitive to the 'waste' issue, but so long as that angle's covered, the 'do a little something crazy' angle makes sense to me.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 11:47AM
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I hope the Church encourages them all to help with the clean up afterwards. Fun is Fun, but walking off and leaving the mess for someone else to fix is something else entirely.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 1:14PM
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Let kids be kids!!!
This is the ONLY time they will be able to play with their food!
If they want to do it, let them!

As far as cleaning up after..I am sure they know that this is a one time only thing and it is for fun. They are children and they should be allowed to play. I am sure they have chores and homework but wouldn't it be nice to just have fun and that is all?

If the church offers to clean it up afterwards then let them do it!

I think this will help them lose their "restraint", loosen up, relax and have fun. I am sure they use this because it is a good bonding experience for the kids and they learn to let their guard down.

actually I think we should have this every year at work. I think it would relieve alot of office tension and stress!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 5:05PM
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Are you going to hose them down when they have finished ?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 3:20AM
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They're having the food fight outside on the lawn behind the church. The kids will be hosed down afterwards. They said to have the kids wear swimsuits or shorts and T-shirts that can (and will) get totally ruined. Last night I told Sarah and Adam that they didn't have to do anything they didn't feel comfortable doing, but if they wanted to participate it would be ok. Sarah especially seems a little nervous, but overall they also seem to be excited. I think they still can't really believe they are going to be allowed to do something like this. Anyway, one more day to go. I would love to hear any more comments anyone has and I will let you know how it goes!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 9:39AM
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"I dont think this would happen in Australia, it seems to be an American thing, food fights, am I right ??"

Good Lord, no!
A handful of places doing something doesn't automatically make it an AMERICAN THING! Like no one ever did that in any other country at any time in history... Oh wait, the tomato throwing in Spain cames to mind, and I am sure there are others.

I would never generalize an entire nation based on a random activity....

(sorry... off my soapbox now.....)

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 2:11PM
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It sounds icky! I'd let my kids do it if THEY wanted to but ew!

I just asked my 14 year old daughter if she would do this, she said yes, with a friend. Go figure.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 9:39PM
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I know everyone is waiting for my report on yesterday's "Messy Olympics" so here it is! I really appreciate all the comments over the last few days. All I can say is, WHAT A MESS!
My husband really convinced me that we should let the kids participate. He thought it sounded fun from the start and that they would remember it for the rest of their lives. Sarah and Adam are really good students and it seems like they are always doing school work, reading, playing musical instruments (Sarah plays the violin and Adam just started on the trumpet) and other constructive things so why not let them break loose and do something totally stupid and wild and crazy for once? Plus, everyone made a trip to the store to pick out canned goods to donate to the church's charity program. The amount of good food that was brought to the church by all the kids was stunning, so that was really positive.
I really wanted to get to watch the event (still a little nervous) so I joined an army of parents in the preparation. A local supermarket donates a van full of "old" food and the church uses the food fight as a way of bringing in new students to the youth program. There was a lot of work to prepare for this event! They had four kiddie pools which we filled with mashed potatos, baked beans, spaghetti-o's and raw eggs (we had to crack about 200 eggs!) As we were dumping in the beans, ect I still couldn't believe this was for real! The students brought buckets to slime each other. Four folding tables were filled with pies (whipped cream and chocolate pudding on paper plates), ketchup, mustard, chocolate sauce, salad dressings, containers of ice cream (which melted becoming a sticky mess), jars of peanut butter.
When Sarah and Adam saw it all they looked kind of shocked like they couldn't believe they were really going to be allowed to do this. Sarah said, "Mom, this is going to be sooo gross!" but when they joined their friends they started laughing. The youth director had everyone count down from 10 and then it was total chaos!
The kids were totally unrecognizable by the end. They really looked like creatures from a bad science fiction movie, all covered in slime. I can't say that I didn't feel a little uneasy watching my beautiful son and daughter get hit with pies, squirted with mustard and get spaghetti-o's dumped over their heads, but all in all it was harmless fun. Sarah and Adam both said it was "cool." and they can't wait to do it again next year. What was really interesting was standing with the other parents and watching the expressions on the faces of toddlers as they watched their older brothers and sisters throw food at each other! Anyway, everyone looked neat and clean in church this morning, so I guess this goes down as a fun adventure for us!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 2:25PM
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What sort of message is this teaching the children about how to treat food ?

Should a church be advocating this message about food ?

Do a google search about food wastage.

Cant think of other countries that do this, I am sorry I think it is terrible.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 7:51PM
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I'm glad you let your children step out of their comfort zone. They've found that stepping out of their comfort zone isn't so bad. We all need to do that sometimes in life. Trying new things can be great. And as I've said before, there are many, many worse things a kid that age could do than a church sponsored activity. Wasting spoiled food...isn't wasting at all.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 10:08PM
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I cleaned out the church's refrigerator yesterday...and threw out a goodly supply of old BBQ sauce, orange juice, and sour cream....would have made for a great food fight!
All you people who think it's awful...are you the kind of mothers who never let your kids play in the mud? Got mad when your little boys got grasss tains on their knees from crawling in the grass? Never allowed them to finger paint because it's so messy...? Discouraged tham from catching pollywogs in the pond because they might get all slimy with mud and algae?
Kids, no matter how "beautiful? they are need to do something harmless but "forbidden" under normal circumstances....and a food fight at church is just about at the top of the list. It's about bonding in ac ertain way. About being given permission to do something that is generall not allowed, as a group, and have fun doing it.
Don't stifle your children by refusing to allow then to get dirty. Ever see a Dr. apply a tourniquet to someone with a severed artery? Believe me it's messy!
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 2, 2006 at 1:21PM
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My issue is not with the mess of the food, it is with the complete lack of respect shown towards the growing of the food, the respect for the farmers that produced it, and the respect for the people who cooked it, and the fact that I am most fortunate to have the food to eat. By throwing it all over the place we are not showing respect for it, we are saying that its okay to throw it on the ground and waste it.

There are many millions of hungry people in the world and I think we have a responsibility to treat our food with respect and appreciate that we have it to eat.

So what do we do with the food that is spoiled and gone past its used-by date ? Well surely the standard we should work towards is to produce only what we need, not to over produce it.

By having food fights it creates a culture of wastage, its says its okay to waste food, its okay to overproduce food.

When in reality its not okay, its a waste of resources.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 3:52AM
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I'm with lindac. Lighten up people! It was food that would have been thrown away anyways! I'm so glad you decided to let your kids have some fun and participate. The other poster was right, kids at that age can be involved in drugs, drinking, etc. It sounds like you have really great kids and they deserved to go out, get messy, and have a blast.

lindac--I'm glad I had a mom like you, and I hope to be the same way if I ever have kids.

These are the kinds of memories you keep with you for your whole life!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 10:02PM
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Sounds awful to me.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 7:49PM
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When I was a kid I would of loved it! if the food was going to be thrown out then what on earth was the harm in it. Be taught to respect food. Lighten up!!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 12:41PM
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