I have a love hate relationship with school lunches. I generally make my kids lunches every morning. I pack the healthiest things I can think of and by mid week, I’m frantically cooking more food for my massive eaters. I’ve learned to stay ahead of the curve, but only by working, working, and working.
And let’s be honest, a lot of people don’t want to make the sacrifices that are needed to work and work and work on lunches. They just don’t value the quality of lunches that are made at home. I understand, respectfully disagree, and move on. But on Friday’s we let my kids get pizza lunches at school.
I’m not a monster. But 1 day out of 5 is still 20% and if you told a kid he could eat 20% of his daily calories from laffy taffy and coca cola, most parents would be offended and not let that happen. But when actual studies show what’s eaten, it’s well over 50% of intake that comes from things that parents say they wouldn’t let their kids eat often. So there’s some lying to ourselves going on.
But what this love & hate /(slash)/ exposes is that there are two ways to view this story and it’s very indicative of what’s going on in America.
View one: Some ultra wackos say, it's your only job to feed your child. Take responsibility and it's not the government job to feed your kid. Literally, there’s a group of people out there touting ‘personal responsibility’ who’s logic next step is this. And of course these people rely most heavily on the governmental school lunch programs and standards, but that’s beside the point.
View two: can we come together for the collective good of all parents and provide another option besides us all having to make lunches each day? This is the idea of modern business – the idea that we can all chip in a little – maybe the same amount that it costs us to make lunch – but the efficiencies of doing lunch at scale means we can hire someone to do it for us and save time. This is, and I’m happy that society has done it, the way it’s worked so far.
But in this case standards need to be met and the standards that are out there are the cheapest ones possible; so that’s what we feed our kids with school lunches – the cheapest food possible. Is the cheapest option really what we want?
Michelle Obama said no, and advocated for healthier lunch options. And people were upset and fought back because she wanted out kids to eat better food. And finishing on a note from the book Hillbilly Elegy, “and we hate her for it—not because we think she’s wrong but because we know she’s right.”