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Our 8 year-old wants to get “Ripped!”

Originally published July 2010.

My wife had fallen asleep in the hotel room. Our 8-year-old, who we allow to watch TV on trips like this, was transfixed by an infomercial.

“Daddy, you have GOT to see this,” our son said, shaking me out of what was nearly sleep, “and we have got to order this, now, and we have to hurry because I want to be RIPPED!”

On the screen was some guy, sans shirt, named Shaun T. He was encouraging his class to “dig deeper” and to “go for it” in what he was calling the “most intense workout of your life!”

MTV-style manic edits with cameras zooming in and out on ultra-fit models with perfectly chiseled abs made it seem legit. T’s “revolutionary system” for getting in the “shape of your life” looked as easy as watching a few DVDs (and making the three easy payments).

I became intrigued. I watched some more.

I suppose I should be horrified that our 8-year-old is both aware of and concerned with a narcissistic pursuit like getting ripped. But let’s face it; being smart is one thing. But being wise and being able to lift your shirt to reveal a six-pack – well, that is when you know you have reached the top of the USA’s success pyramid.

I was delighted with my son’s enthusiasm for something other than a video game.

“Daddy, this is something you, me, and mommy could do together!” he said. Imagine that…adding, “We can all get ripped, together, as a family!” Tears welled up in my eyes. Well, not really – that sounds good.

“Daddy, this could be my present for graduating second grade!”

Are you graduating second grade? What the heck? I swear, the world has gone crazy. Since when was advancing from 2nd to 3rd grade something to even put on the calendar?

But guess what? On his last day of second grade, I presented him with Shaun T’s Insanity. He was giddy beyond belief.

I was looking over my shoulder for Child Protection Services (CPS) to bust in and cuff me for encouraging such extreme narcissism at a young age.

Then again, exercise isn’t such a bad thing. I met my wife while teaching a high-impact aerobic class. Maybe this will be fun for the family to do together!

Now, if only we can balance Insanity with his Happy Meal consumption, I think our son will be ripped in no time!