So a couple of days ago I posted a note I had sent in to my son’s first grade teacher.
The story goes that he started complaining that his friends wouldn’t sit with him in the lunchroom because they said his food smelled bad. Regular readers know the lengths I go to to make sure he has good home-cooked food every day, which is mostly rice and beans, pasta with vegetables, quesadillas (yes, with beans sometimes). I would very much like to be able to send him in with lunch money, but what I have seen from the cafeteria menus looked pretty, well, not-what-we-eat-dear (mind you, the new January menu looks like someone has made some changes: baked chicken fingers, homemade macaroni and cheese…so I am giving it another look this month since I need a break!).
So I sent in the note, a bit skeptical of the story and thinking that perhaps this was actually a play for lunch money and tater tots for lunch. Then at dismissal the teacher asked to speak to me.
It turns out to be true. The teacher observed them in the cafeteria and indeed his friends wouldn’t sit with him (he had cheese and broccoli quesadillas). So she spoke to them about not commenting on other people’s food. She was immediately responsive, very complimentary as to the little man’s lunches and his good eating habits, and — it seems to me — very gentle in her redirection of the kids.
I also heard from some of the moms after I posted the note on Facebook, and of course they were immediately supportive and reminded their kids to be kind about other people’s lunches. And you know, I have learned it goes both ways. I tend to be judgmental about the way people eat (you are, of course, not surprised) and this was a reminder to me to get off my high horse and understand that not everyone cares as deeply about this issue or has the wherewithal to do what I do about it. And that if I want tolerance and acceptance, I have to be ready to return the courtesy.
So, peace and love, everyone, and pasta with a Marcella Hazan-inspired incredibly easy tomato sauce and a bit of broccoli for the boy’s lunch tomorrow. Or maybe those new baked chicken fingers that are on the school menu?
I will keep you posted on any new developments. Thanks for all your comments! (here’s the original post)