As you can imagine, enthusiasm around food is quite high at the Seed this week. On Tuesday many of the classes were using the My Plate (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/kids/) to identify different foods and sort them into the following categories: fruits, vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates and dairy. Four-year-olds used divided plates to place real beans, dried pasta, green tissue paper scraps to represent lettuce, pretend food and unifix cubes standing in for cheese cubes in their appropriate categories. Toddlers painted with banana peels, while first and second graders created personalized place mats using the My Plate design. Conversations about food are everywhere.
An on-going conversation has been happening regarding kids’ lunches with the growing group of enthusiasts passionate about improving their children’s nutrition. Creative and practical lunch ideas are popping up on Facebook to be shared with others. Interest in providing food that is both appealing and nutritious is broadening. One thread of the conversation that keeps coming up is that although the parents are making beautiful lunches for their children, they aren’t always being so thoughtful toward themselves. They either throw together leftovers (which work well for lunches, incorporated with additional items) or order take-out…or don’t eat at all. It started me thinking about the importance of grown-ups needing beautiful healthy lunches, too.
Being a giver like the parents who consciously prepare their children’s lunches each day, it’s taken me most of my 62 years to learn the value of taking care of myself. For decades I gave and gave, especially to the Seed, often at the expense of myself or my family. While there were multiple benefits and rewards, it took a toll on me after awhile. In the last two years, thanks to a couple of serious health issues, I’ve shifted my thinking about self-care. I’ve realized that to truly take care of everyone else in my life, I need to make sure I’m also nourishing myself. It’s taken awhile to get over feeling guilty for doing something for myself, and I’m finally at a place where I factor the impact on myself of any decision I’m about to make. I don’t regret any choices I’ve made and I do appreciate the lessons I’ve learned. These days I take the time to make healthy lunches for myself and know that they help me be better at what I do each day. I find that my best lunches are prepared the night before, so I work that into my evening routine. It’s a lesson I hope to pass along to others who are also in the practice of service, both food and other kindnesses that make a big difference in others‘ lives.