"Eeww, I don't like that!" "Teacher, I'm full!", "But...I'm all done!" This is just a few of my favorite lunchtime conversations. Oh the list goes on and on. I have a kid in my class that eats next to nothing each day. However, I'll sit next to him with my lunch and wouldn't you know it...there's always something in my lunch that pleasing to his hungry eyes. Of course being in the field a while I have my suspicions about why he eats so little. I know the "food fight" will only lead to frustration and aggravation at what's supposed to be a pleasant time of day. So each day I sit next to him, we chat about our day, we look into each other lunch boxes, we chat about our food, he even asked for my corn on the cob today. I said no sweetly with a smile and directed him back to his own lunch. He was unhappy and he let me know it by mumbling something under his breathe.
Yes, even at lunch I am busy teaching. I am teaching my little friend that there are lots of different foods to choose from. I am teaching that eating is not a battle and food is enjoyable. I am teaching he has the right to refuse to eat but regardless of whether he chooses to eat or not our day must go on. And some day soon I'll pull enough food out of my lunchbox for the both of us. And without him even realizing what has happened, he'll have had a pleasant eating experience. He'll have tried something new. He'll have realized he lived to tell about it (good or bad) and quite possibly will take that joy home with him. Until that day, I'll sit next to him and enjoy his company and refuse to take part in a "food fight".