Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Chats in the Van
On the way home from school today, Regina (8) and Veronica (7) were talking to each other about "eating healthy at school."
Veronica: Yeah, so I took out my lunch and I said to all the kids "Okay, I know it's weird, and it's already embarrassing, so don't laugh."
Regina: Yeah, I know, it's like they just like to laugh.
Me: What? Are you guys embarrassed about eating good-for-you-foods?
Veronica: Uh, yeah!
Regina: Well... I'm not ashamed of it. But it is kind of embarrassing to explain to other kids why we have such different food.
Me: What does your food do for you?
Regina: It makes us healthy. It helps keep cancer away... and... um.. makes us feel happier.
Me: Good. So what does the school food do?
Regina: It makes you feel sick and tired.
Veronica: It makes me want grains! (LOL)
I got distracted for a bit, and then I hear Regina say:
"Don't you think it's terrible the kids are all getting sick?"
Me: They are? With what... when did it start?
Regina: Well, I guess cancer, becaues all they eat is sugar!
Me: Okay, but it's important to remember we don't say things like "you're going to get cancer!" to the kids, because that is not charitable. And it is up to their parents' as to what they eat. So you just eat your food happily, and let them eat what they have.
Regina: Well, I told one kid [who has repeatedly made fun of her food] "at least my mom cares about me!" because, you don't want us to get cancer, but I think her mom doesn't care much about her, because all she eats is pudding and cheetos.
Me: ACK! I mean, thanks, but... yeah, we don't say that either. I am sure her mother cares a lot about her, but maybe doesn't know about food, or doesn't have the time to take care of it. So we should only say kind things, like "I'm glad you're interested, maybe I can bring you an extra piece tomorrow." All parents really love their children, okay?
Veronica: Sooo.... can I have grains?
Yeah, so I hadn't thought about what my girls would have to say to their friends about the radical switch in diet. I had said a quick word like "you tell people that it's a new way of eating that makes you feel healthier and happier."
For years we've talked about food, its properties, and what it does for you, so they do know many benefits and they know why we eat the things we eat, but they are still embarrassed. Any thoughts on how to handle this?