“Don’t share food!” This is the rule that elementary students especially seem to have instilled in them from the first day of school. I know why we have this rule. We’re worried about food allergies and food restrictions. This makes sense. But lately I’ve been thinking about what message a stringent rule such as this one sends to kids.
I think we want to teach all students to be safe when it comes to sharing food. Children need to know if they’re allergic to food items, and classmates need to understand the importance of not sharing certain foods because of these allergies. But in the same regard, I also think that something wonderful happens when we share a little food.
- My teaching partner, Paula, goes to Tim Horton’s for lunch most days, and she always brings back an extra large bun. The students are excited about the “Tim Horton’s bread,” and a couple of them always gather around her for a few small pieces of bread with butter. As they eat, they talk, they sing, and they laugh.
- I rarely manage to finish my lunch, and our students always know that I’ll often have a piece of fruit left after the second nutrition break. Sometimes the students will ask for “an apple,” and just like with Paula, this is when we sit down, talk, and eat together.
- Every Wednesday is Popcorn Day, and I’ll always purchase some extra bags of popcorn each week. Why? Because there’s something special about sharing popcorn, stories, and smiles.
Food connects us! I’m not suggesting that we share sweet treats or carelessly give away lunches, but I’m wondering if there are exceptions to every rule, including this one.
- We share toys.
- We share tools.
- We share space.
- Maybe there’s something to be said for sharing the joy that comes from sharing food.
What do you think? I continue to wonder if sometimes the “no sharing food” rule could become a “maybe.”