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I’m guessing kids everywhere did assignments like this the week before Thanksgiving. And we think this one is a keeper. “Family” is a given (one hopes). “Universe,” “technology” and “math” stoked my science-geek husband and also really cracked us up.

But do you see that other word in there? “Me.” Our kid is thankful for herself.

At first I thought that was funny. Then I thought that was fantastic. Then I decided we all should be so lucky. Confidence is where it’s at.

Over on the Spoonfed Facebook page, we’ve been talking a lot lately about junk-filled school parties and snack culture gone crazy, those evergreen topics that fuel both anger and a sense of helplessness. We’re mad and we’re not going to take it anymore! And yet… we do. Day after day. School event after school event. “Special” treat after “special” treat. All those “it’s just a…” situations that add up until it’s happening all the time.

We worry about offending teachers, other parents, family members, the nice bank teller. We don’t want to be “that mom” (or dad). We don’t want our kids to be “different” or to feel left out. So we shut up and let them eat the crap. And then we rage inside (or online) about the injustice of it all.

But you know what? We are in charge. YOU are in charge. And we — you — have the power to change things. Talk to teachers, offer alternative ideas, organize the next party. Skip the drive-thru. Pack your own snacks. Reject “kid food” and kid menus. Rally other parents. Say no when you want to say no, and don’t take no for an answer when what you want is a yes.

And, above all, teach kids that being different is not only OK — it’s great. Teach them that different people eat different things (for different reasons). Teach them that peer pressure isn’t OK for drugs, and it’s not OK for food, either. Teach them to be confident in their choices by being confident in your own choices.

And remind yourself, if you need reminding, what we’re up against:

“It’s not just one day a year. It’s Halloween night and class parties and community events and then the winter holidays and Valentine’s Day and Easter and birthday parties and swimming class and soccer games and the bank and the shoe store and restaurants with kid menus and the grandparents’ house and anyplace else kids set foot, including, of course, school. The sugar culture is so strong, the highly processed foodstuffs so epidemic, that we no longer have the luxury of viewing these things in isolation. It’s not just a few Halloween treats or one blue cupcake. It’s a crushing pile of chemical-laden pseudo food. And at some point we just have to make it stop.”

Then take matters into your own hands:

Our kids are worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.


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