Friday Jams: Teachers, Leave Them Kids Alone

I was in 6th grade when Pink Floyd’s The Wall was released. My older brother was in 8th grade. The perfect age to gravitate towards musical resistance to the man. It was a life changer for Jerry. He bought his first high end stereo and turntable with his own money which I guess gave him the right to blast the album. I loved it. I remember him bringing my Uncle Dennis downstairs on one of our evenings together to listen “Mother” on the album. ‘Mother do you think you’ll drop the bomb.’ This song spoke to him for some reason, dunno why. I should ask him some day.


Matt and I were talking the other day about an episode of Law & Order I had on as I was getting ready to leave to pick him up from the Airport. The Ice guy (I can never remember if it’s Ice T or Ice Cube. I’m such a square) was offering some little kid a donut and when the mum freaked out and confronted him about offering her kid a donut he dug right in and was cop asshole. “Why SHOULDN’T I offer him a donut” Ice man came back with. Uhhhhhh, cuz it’s not your place dickhead to give my kid sugar. Duh.

Which led to the discussion of kids going back to school in the next week or two. Ahhhhh, school. Where teachers teach you right from kinder care that food is related to rewards. Be a good boy Johnny and I’ll reward you with sugar. Do your spelling words little Annie and you’ll get a cookie at the end of the week. Food=job well done. If you don’t get the sugar, you’ve failed. Think I’m exaggerating? Ask adults why they think food=emotion/reward and the majority will trace it back to their childhood.

What happens when I tell someone (who asks by the way) that they need to give up the sugar for a while and they will honest to god believe I am punishing them. It is quite common to hear responses such as: “Well I NEED something sugary each day or I won’t make it.” Uhhhhh, NEED? You NEED water and oxygen. You’ve been CONDITIONED to believe that you need sugar. True story.

Now, I am not anti-sugar. Obviously, I’m Hawaiian. Ever see this commercial?

I grew up with this believing, of course, that since I actually WAS Hawaiian, I had some special bond to sugar. Cuz that’s what the commercial said and it had a Uke playing in the background. (To this day I buy C&H, marketing at it’s finest.) Anywhooo. I’m not anti-sugar. Just this morning the big guy ran and bought some Cranky Al’s donuts for the crew.

But a donut isn’t a reward. It’s just a sometimes treat. If we had them every day they wouldn’t be a treat. They’d be the chicken and broccoli and pasta I had for breakfast. Everyday food that actually fuels us. A Cranky Al’s Crueller? A treat. We like treats. But they’re not rewards. Food has nothing to do with rewards, these do…


Gold, Silver, or Bronze. Medals. Rewards for hard work. These things are valued. If they weren’t, the Olympics wouldn’t be a big deal. Duh. Sugary treats provided by teachers that are probably either skinny fat or just plain fat aren’t rewards. It’s them passing on their shitty food relationship to your kids. Why is this acceptable? Why in the world do you guys put up with this crap?

Cuz if you didn’t, your kid would be the only one in the class who wouldn’t get the sugary treat and then they would FEEL bad. Food and feelings. Raising yet another mindless generation of folks with crappy relationships with food. Goodie.

Did you KNOW you have a say in what goes on at school? Did you KNOW that you can tell the teacher that you don’t believe food has anything to do with rewards and you don’t want your kid being brainwashed by them thinking it does? Too hard?

That’s okay. Fitting in is important. It gets you here:


And then they get on tv. Score.

Think I’m harsh? (Lots do.) Think I’m wrong? (I’m not.) Think a crappy relationship with food built in childhood can be easily outgrown?

Think again.

 Obesity is, well, bad.

Emily Levine

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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