When Junk Food Is Not

Freya went to a museum today with her school. She took a lunch box with her, which included some organic corn rings, but she wasn’t allowed to eat them. She was a bit upset when she told us about the incident, so I spoke to her teacher, Annie, today, to find out the reason.

Annie explained that she and another teacher had looked at the packet, and although they saw the snacks were organic they thought that the other children might ask questions. When we were notified of Freya’s outing we were told not to pack unhealthy food, so this may have had some of the children wondering why Freya is special (because she is, I say). As well as being organic, the rings were made of corn, corn flour and vegetable oil: no sugar, no preservatives.

I suggested that as an educator Annie should inform the majority, and not penalise the innocent minority, to which she half-mumbled an agreement. It is not only important, but I think vital, that children are made aware of alternate lifestyles, especially when they are based on sound principles, and not just see a crisp packet as junk-food; that the teachers fall into this trap, or take the easy option that requires no thought, is saddening.

This made me think once again of our (the parents) role in bringing up children. I often find myself giving Freya indoctrinated no’s when she asks to do things that are inconvenient to me, or to which have no real underlying thought. Most of the time I am able to catch myself, and change my no to a yes, explaining to Freya that there is no reason why she shouldn’t be allowed to do what she asks and that I don’t know why I said no. There are, of course, times when inconvenience no’s are acceptable. As these occasions seldom crop up I feel fine about it, even if I have no real explanation for Freya.

As it turned out, Freya didn’t even like the snacks when she tried them this evening. I can’t say I blame her, they did taste pretty bland.