In a small Manitoba town, about 100km south of Winnipeg, a mom is sharing information about her son with this year’s teacher.
“My son was eating 100% fruit snacks. No preservatives even. So the teacher says, “Don’t forget to bring a snack for nutrition break in the morning, and hopefully it will be more healthy than that.”
By whose definition?
The Manitoba Ministry of Education’s curriculum guide on Healthy Lifestyle Practices states “students will identify the daily habits and responsibilities for promoting physically active and healthy lifestyles, as well as for the prevention of illness and disease. The skill component focusses [sic] on the planning and managing of personal health practices (e.g., participation in physical activity, healthy eating) on a daily basis.”
Dear Ministry of Education,
Grade 2 students are expected to differentiate between “everyday” and “sometime” foods in Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating, and identify foods that help you “go, glow and grow.”
This is the same place, by the way, where a Child Psychologist advised parents at a hospital feeding clinic to “take things [the child] enjoys away from him until he tries something new. He can earn his recess at school by eating his lunch.”
When the teacher insinuated that the fruit snack was not healthy enough to bring to school, she did not consider that the child sitting within earshot is a selective eater who is already anxious about eating. The teacher did not consider that a few months prior to this meeting, a bout of flu claimed this child’s appetite for over a month. Mom rushed her son to the hospital after he suddenly fainted from not being able to stomach the sight or smell of food. The teacher does not know that this fruit snack is the closest thing to fruit this child has ever eaten, or the courage that was required to try it for the first time.
The teacher does not appreciate what Mom sees as nothing short of miraculous – the monumental achievement of being able to eat comfortably in public – destroyed in 9 words.
and hopefully it will be more healthy than that.
From her sanctimonious pedestal, the teacher has just made an eight year old feel insecure about a food that has just only recently become a regular part of his diet. Fortunately, mom is wise and fiercely protective of her and her son’s feeding responsibilities. Today, guilt is not on the menu.
My son says, “What? What is wrong with these?” I said “Nothing is wrong with those, Bud. All food nourishes your body.” Teacher looked a little stunned. I told her he does just fine with his food choices. And when it comes to his lunch and snack he has full control.
So save the red lights and the green lights and the ‘glow’ for the intersections and keep the traffic signals out of the classroom. Teachers would be wise to just stay out of what should remain between parent and child altogether. In fact, schools would do parents and students the greatest possible service by not commenting on the food students bring from home. At all.
Besides, isn’t it hard enough to keep a classroom of students on top of their writing, math and spelling without worrying about what every child is or isn’t eating?