Adult: “You have to eat your vegetables.”
Adult: “Because they are good for you.”
It doesn't matter how many explanations the adult might offer, they will always be followed by another why. Why?
I am no psychologist but I think there is more to this than the thirst for education. I think this is more about negotiation. Is there a really good reason why I should eat my vegetables or do you just like making me do things? Is there a reason that would be good enough to ME?
(Yeah, I'll give you a good enough reason—either you eat your vegetables or no TV tonight!)
As we grow up we stop asking these questions. Why? Are we that much more accepting of annoying things? I believe we still want to ask, but because we are all grown up and civilized we don't—that would just be childish. And there usually isn't anybody who could get us grounded or take away our TV privileges.
Does that mean there won't be any consequences?
Of course there will be! But who is going to worry about a consequence they can't see coming? So what do we often do instead? Nothing!
“Well, I don't see any good reason why I should (fill in the thing you don't want to do).”
But what if there was a really good reason, which we'll never find out about, because we don't ask! If we found such a reason would that be good enough to make us to the right thing?
Let's take the issue of obesity in dogs for example. Left and right we keep hearing that we should keep our dogs thin. And yet dog obesity has become an epidemic. Why? The conversation with your vet would probably go something like this:
Veterinarian: “Your dog needs to lose weight.”
Veterinarian: “It is bad for his health to be obese.”
But the vet isn't there looking over your shoulder to make sure you eat your vegetables, is he?
So what happens? You come home and find a hundred reasons why it either doesn't matter or you cannot get your dog to lose weight. Why?
- “I think he looks just fine the way he is.”
- “He always looked like this and he is healthy.”
- “It's just winter fat.”
- “Well, he loves his treats.”
- “How can I train him without treats?”
- “Well, he looks at me with those eyes I have to share my dinner with him.”
- "I don't have the time to exercise him."
- "The weather has been bad."
- “He is hungry! He wouldn't eat if he wasn't hungry!”
The list goes on. A hundred reasons for your dog to remain obese and only one reason to get him thin. So what do you do? Nothing.
What if I told you that there really are very good reasons to get your dog lose weight? Would that help?
In the meantime, I'm afraid, no TV tonight for you, my friend.
Turns out this issue isn't just on my mind. Just as I wrote this article, Pawcurious published a great post on the subject The Biggest Loser - Dog Edition! Check it out!
Know Your Dog's Enemies: Overweight
The Cancer Antidote that Lies Within: You Will Never Look At Fat The Same Way Again