I bring new vocabulary like fumble fingered, the sky’s the limit, glee, foolish, Eiffel Tower. I bring new commands like ‘eat your vegetables.’ I bring stickers.
These are just a few of the new things coming with me to the school campus where I am chaplain. I’m trying to teach kindness, perseverance, belief in oneself, healthy eating. All against a hard background of neighborhood strife and stress in the homes.
I have found that school lunches have changed a lot since I was in school. For one thing, there is no school kitchen. The meals are made at a satellite kitchen and trucked to each school. There is no longer a line of cafeteria ladies, but rather one lone lady who hands out the prepackaged meals. There is lots of packaging. Most of the veggies are raw. The desserts are no longer cookies or cake but whole grain graham crackers and raisins or other fruit. One thing hasn’t changed, some kids still eat the dessert before the veggies.
Because I see food being wasted (and every child in the 75,000 student school district receives a free lunch), and I’m seeing rotted front teeth that have either been removed or capped, I am passionate about the children eating their fruits and veggies. I found a boy on the playground after lunch eating a fast food meal of soda and hot wings. He told me his auntie had brought it to him because he doesn’t like the school lunch. The school lunch had consisted of a whole wheat bun and chicken pieces in barbecue sauce that I found to be very tasty. You see, I’m eating the school lunch on the two days I am at the school. I’m hoping to encourage the children to eat those veggies.
This week’s summary ‘rap’ is When learning something new…just stick with it like glue. That’s what I’m doing with the school lunch. I’m sticking to my command: Eat your vegetables.