There’s a boy at my son’s school. He represents every young man who’s grown up without. Without the constants of unconditional love. Without food enough to not be hungry. He has regular outbursts at school and threatens teachers and other students. He just wants to know that he matters.

Pickky eaters at dinner at Steve's on

He’s enrolled in an after-school program and, although this boy was suspended for a day or two, my husband saw him there as he was setting up lights for the talent show our son was to be in. He noticed the kid because again he threatened a teacher. They were serving spaghetti dinner to the after school participants as some kids won’t have a meal when they get home. I didn’t know about the program.

Over dinner, my husband was describing the wall of teachers that formed after the kid threatened one of them. And then he mentioned the spaghetti dinner. And I looked up and it hit me. And tears formed in my eyes. As they are now. Hungry isn’t ever a comfortable place to be. Basic needs being unmet would make you angry too. Every town has hungry people you just don’t see.

So when someone asked me recently if my kids were picky eaters, I said yes. And then I said that was OK by me. That they are persnickety and turn their noses up at their homemade waffle breakfast is fine with me to a degree. Because that means that they have no idea what it’s like to go without, to be hungry and frightened about finding their next meal. I’m just fine with my kids being picky.

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  1. It’s really hard to think of kids going hungry without feeling very emotional. My job involves working with schools in disadvantaged areas, and some of them have breakfast clubs where kids can come in and have a free breakfast before they start school because teachers had noticed kids coming in hungry. I know of some schools that invite the parents in for it too, which is a really good way of getting some of those hard to engage parents into the school, and involved in their kids’ schooling.

    1. Yes they serve what I call “second breakfast” throughout my son’s school. You can lead them to free food but it may not mean they’ll come and get it. Too busy worrying about other things. Hard job there.

  2. How hard it must be to not have. Not have enough food, enough to live, enough (particularly for children of a certain age)to wear. To just not have enough. Period.
    And how lucky we are that even though it might not seem that way sometimes.

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