Ap(parent)ly

Published April 19, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

So as I am sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, much like any other, trying to ward off panic attacks. . I’m a relatively young person, I shouldn’t have this kind of stress, I know what this is related to, but I can’t talk about it yet. So I will talk about something else to channel my stress.

A former student of mine, Crusher, asked me if Food Insecurity affects any of my students. Food Insecurity is the state in which someone is not able to guarantee where their next meal is coming from. As you might imagine, this is particularly horrifying when it comes to children.

I know that students all over the city, but not necessarily in the school where I currently teach, have food insecurity. I know the Free Breakfast program is alive and well in my community. I also know that the food that is available to many school age children is of poor quality and high in processed carbohydrates and sugar. Now I personally am a fan of sugar and the chemical tang of certain prepared food products (I once stress ate half a can of frosting), but I know that it is not a good source of nutrition, particularly when it appears to be the sole source of energy on a school day.

I pointed this out to Crusher who then went on to ask how this would affect a student’s performance.  I told her that this early morning carb blast is usually followed by a lunch that consists of the worst Mexican Import since Montezuma’s revenge; the Takis.  I have no idea what is in these things, but they smell terrible and make middle school age children both thirsty and sticky,neither of which is conducive to the learning process.

This conversation led me to wonder if children have changed. My Amanda Friend, who is both wise and kind, and also the mother of two boys, one of whom is still in school said that she doesn’t think children have changed but parenting has. I don’t know if that is true, but I certainly have seen a decline in accountability from both parents and students. Is it related to food insecurity? Who knows?

But what I do know is that if you are a child who only knows terrible food choices and you go on to a life built on impulse driven choices, largely colored by the availability of the cheap and easy, you are not going to be in a place to be a good parent. Who is going to help you make the smart choice?

Apparently no one.

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