As a Parent I’m very aware of a growing problem with our children. Food. I am aware of how often they go to an activity or attend an event where food is the focus or highlight. When did food become the ultimate boredom buster? When did activity organisers decide that snack time will not only become part of the curriculum, it will become an integral part of the entertainment? When my child attends an activity for say a birthday; there is always food. Not only food to eat, as in say lunch or dinner. There is food to celebrate, food to munch on and food to take home. The kids no longer look forward to the celebration, but what junk they will be able to take home with them. Why? How did a birthday’s focus stop being about the joyous occasion and more about loot bag? Now food at a birthday is common, yes I wish there wasn’t so much, however it becomes part of the how to fill two hours with thirty kids. I’m guilty myself of loosing focus when there are so many kids for so long. It’s part of the reason I stopped doing parties. There was too much expectation on what food would be served and less about the occasion and why all the friends had gathered.
However, what about school? Camp? Church Group? Why is there so much food focus there? If my child attends church group from 6:30-8:30, why is food even offered at all? They just ate! Yet every time they come back , I hear more about how many bears paws they’ve consumed than about the actual activity! School has days where they watch movies and eat junk food! At school! Is there nothing else the kids can be doing?! What about learning? What about finding out how movies were made? What about playing games? Why is it easier to sedate the kids with a large snack then with a fun activity? Is that the whole key? It’s easier. It’s easier to say, here sit down for a forty minutes to eat then hey for forty minutes were going to play a short game of volleyball!
I’m getting ever more concerned with the amount of food that my children eat while at an activity. I can’t shield them from life because I don’t want them to eat. However I expect when they attend something; it’s for the purpose of the event, not to eat. I want my kids to eat and I want them to enjoy food . However food isn’t entertainment. Food is not something you eat, just to kill time. I want my kids to learn that there is a time and place for food. I want them to attend parties with friends and enjoy their friends. I want them to go to camp and be campers. I want them to go to school and learn. I want them to go to church group and have fun. Food can be fun. However when should food replace experience?
If you want to experience food, then experience food! Cook a meal. Go to a market. Bake something delicious. Grow something wild. Pick berries. Visit a farm. What are we teaching our children about food if we don’t separate food experiences from every day activities. A birthday should be a celebration. If you want food. Then make food part of the experience. School should be for learning, if you want food. Then make it part of the learning curriculum. I remember so vividly grade eleven Spanish class; We had a unit on Spanish foods in their culture. We had one day that we were able to have the food room and not only bring in Spanish cuisine, but cook them and taste what they were all about. That’s how you incorporate food into an experience!
Now I know a lot of people see no harm in incorporating food into an event. There isn’t harm. However the food is taking over. It’s becoming the star of the show. It’s good to be bored. It’s good to let your brain roam onto unknown territories. We don’t need food to quiet that, we need to embrace it. Kids should learn how to kill time and have fun, without shoving their faces full of food. There is a time and definitely a place for eating. We need to fortify the boundaries between food experience and life activities.
What are your thoughts? Is food taking over as the ultimate boredom buster? Should we allow food so much space to become the star of our children’s activities? Or even adult activities?