My first inkling that the basics of human existence have escaped some in our society was back in the 70’s when I was working for a judge in Baltimore, Maryland. The receptionist was on vacation and a temp agency sent a young woman to take her place. (She was about 23 years old.)
I happen to mention something about farmers one day, and she quickly informed me that she did not associate with farmers.
I was somewhat dumbfounded, but when I recovered enough to speak, I asked her where she would get her food if there were no farmers. She determinedly told me that she would get it at the grocery store where she had always gotten it.
In my thirties at the time, I was still learning about food and health myself. But I certainly was way ahead of this young woman. To think of her as a Mother and Grandmother (which she probably is by now) makes me a bit uneasy.
Since then I’ve seen and heard many more examples to indicate that we as a society have become unfamiliar with simple but intimate life functions – like eating. Most don’t have a clue about where their food comes from or whether it’s healthful.
Sadder still — they don’t see a need to know. They have turned the very sustenance of their life (their food) over to the “unseen” someone. And many do so in “blind faith” that they (whoever they might be) would not sell it if it were bad for you.
Education begins in the home. Certainly one cannot entrust the future of a child to the school system, most especially in today’s age.
I read recently of research showing the human brain is not fully developed until age 25. Before that — it is still deficient in the frontal lobes which control decision-making, rational thinking, judgment, and the ability to plan ahead.
This makes you realize the need for good parenting even more!
What youth is exposed to will help them form their habits later in life. Even if they turn away from that teaching in their teens years, they can come back to that as their brains more fully develop.
You CAN Make a Difference
Ultimately kids grow up and make their own choices. But, they’ve got a much better chance at making good ones if they know the options.
If you engage your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. in the processes of fixing food and growing food —- studies show they are much more likely to embrace healthy food.
Making food an object of hands-on study can be a simple but important part of education. In addition to teaching that food and meals take planning and effort, it can bring into reality concepts that were only ideas in the class room.
Here’s What I Mean:
Applying subjects like reading, writing, math and science in the real world is best way to help a child learn. Doing is how you learn and that is what improves grades and eventually life skills.
Science can come to life: Planting a seed. Watching it grow. Seeing the bees and insects. Putting kitchen scrapes in the soil to decompose with the help of soil microorganisms. What makes a plant grow? How the plants turn sunlight into food. And on and on.
And why not suggest writing an essay about what you’ve done in the garden today. (Teaches writing and communication skills.)
Math becomes easier when it is applied. How many 1/4 cups does it take to make 1 cup, etc.
And of course, there is reading the recipes.
Find Their Interest
Remember most children are all about play and fun. Keep in mind that all have different likes and dislikes. If you keep the conversation going and spend some quality time with the child, you’ll hit on what they are most interested in. The door to opportunity will have just opened. Now you can make a difference.
Not only will you create memories that will last a life time, but you will be giving one of the greatest gifts: the basic knowledge of feeding yourself well.