Feed your kid. Feed them good food. Feed them like Kings and Queens not because you’re spoiling them but because they have a full six hour marathon of a day they are about to run and you know what happens to cars with no fuel? They don’t run (I know, mind blowing right?)
When I was in elementary school we did not have a breakfast program. Then, it emerged and I had a hard time understanding what kind of person would send their kid to school on an empty stomach. I thought, “this breakfast thing is just letting bad parents be lazy and not be parents at all”. This is partially true, there are really bad parents out there and often it’s the ones who don’t think they’re bad at all that are the worst. However there are also really good parents who have, just like everybody else, been given a really crappy hand of cards. They’re shit outta luck. They’re playing a triage scenario to figure out which of their 3 children who they have been left to raise on their own, will be going without breakfast today. We call them bad parents as we scarf down a meal prepared with ingredients from Pete’s Froutique. I don’t want to dwell on the definition of a bad parent though. This isn’t even about the kid who occasionally is just really disorganized and misses breakfast. This isn’t the defiant teenager either. This is about the kid who goes fuel-less daily and only thrives mainly on filthy diesel when the opportunity arises.
Kids who don’t eat aren’t productive. They could be the best behaved kid in the room but they will eventually succumb to their brains being in their stomachs. Lack of concentration and inability to pay attention to their own work will set them behind. As if we need more kids set behind. They are not going to be able to remember information. Since we live in an age where majority of education is ruled by memorization we can see how this becomes a problem. No information retention=poor academic results. We have all heard of the term “hangry” and while we joke about it, I have actually seen this in action in saddest ways possible. “Hangry” is the slang term for being so hungry that you’re angry. It’s used in a jokingly way but the more I’m around the children the more I realize it’s not even a joke at all. In reality, being hungry actually does create aggression issues, and behavioural problems in children. What happens then? You’re the kid who can’t control their temper and nobody wants to be around you. You’re friendless or you’re the kid who’s annoying and disruptive. Being consistently hungry has now opened a pathway for issues even beyond academic struggles. Guess what? Other kids won’t understand that. All they see is a nuisance.
Does this mean you’re responsible for everybody else’s children? No (although “it takes a village” has worked in other cultures beautifully). However, Suzie is telling you that Sally only eats chips for lunch and snack for a reason. She knows she has things that Sally doesn’t have. She’s noticing not every parent is the same. So rather than talk about the fact that it’s not your problem or concern just remember that not every parent is terrible but whether or not they are, there is only one person who truly suffers at the end of it all. It’s the kid pacing manically in their class because they can’t focus. It’s the kid falling asleep in their chair. These aren’t kids who necessarily need to be locked away. They’re kids who need to be consistently fed and then maybe their day can begin because their tank is full. Schools shouldn’t be responsible for feeding other people’s kids but they do because the effects of not doing it affect the school environment. It affects everybody’s day who has to co-exist with hungry children. Fuel your kids up. Know which kids don’t get fuel and don’t try to ignore it. It’s reality and you cannot be blind to this. Your kids aren’t. Give your kids variety. Give them your best. Somebody in their class isn’t being given their best and they need the support. You’re not their friend who feeds them what they want. You’re the parent who has to give them what they need. If you can make it happen, make it happen. Feed your kids, and then feed some more.