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Friday, June 10, 2011

Lessons from the Lunch lady - end of the year summary

Ladies and Gentlemen, the lunch ladies have left the building.

It's official. Summer arrived at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday when I had my first sip of a Sex on the Beach. It was yummy but did little to numb the throbbing ache in my broken foot. This is what I get for putting all my summer goals in a blog post.

Here's what I learned in my second year as elementary lunch goddess.

The kids make it worthwhile. Let's face it. On any given day, my own kiddos can get on my nerves. And just like my kiddos, the kids at school sometimes push my buttons. But most of the time, those little buggers make it all worthwhile. They ask you to sign their yearbook, they cry on the last day because they will "willy" miss you, they think you are awesome even when you break your foot in an inflatable obstacle course and they wait in a long face paint line just so you can paint their cheek.

My elementary family. Some of my friends who are staff in other buildings or even other districts often comment on how nicely everyone treats everyone at our little ol' elementary. Plain and simple: I work with good people. From the lunch staff, the custodial staff, the aides, the teachers and the adminstration--they make my job fun. And like the CHEERS theme song, sometimes you just wanna go where everybody knows your name and they are always glad you came. I hope to see at least a few of them over the summer months.

Childhood Obesity is NOT the schools fault. It surprises me how often regulations change regarding school lunches. Let's be honest here, school lunches aren't great. However, they are not the reason this generation will not out live their parents. Just look around. We are becoming larger by the minute. We need to teach our children how to eat HEALTHY at an early age. If they get to elementary school and don't know bananas need peeled or how to tell the difference between an apple and a pear, we have failed.

You can lead a horse to water. Just like you can't make the horse drink, you can't make a student eat. If your student frequently buys lunch ask them what they are eating. Ask them what they had to choose from. You'd be surprised how few of the students take fruit, how many don't even taste the veggie. MORE FOOD IS WASTED THAN CONSUMED EVERYDAY.

Everyone makes a difference. I have never been embarrassed to say I am a lunch lady. Sure we lunch ladies laughed when the school district decided to display our post secondary education near the kitchen entrance. Each of us attended a business college. We joked that the students could learn by looking at that only one thing. Do not attend business college. You'll just end up in a cafeteria somewhere. Let me just say, I have worked in the field of my degree. I have worked for lawyers of all kinds. Good ones and bad ones. Between you and me...I'd pick a lunch lady any day. I have seen lunch ladies make sure no one gets a cheese sandwich, I have seen lunch ladies sit with lonely kids, I have seen lunch ladies wipe tears and give hugs. Why wouldn't I want to be part of that group?

In conclusion, I look forward to returning to the kitchen, even if I have to offer kale as a veggie choice next year.

9 random thoughts:

David Allen Waters said...

hey friend, you make being a lunch lady cool :)

Kristie Maynard said...

You make some very good points. It just burns me when parents (and others) blame things on the schools. Like you said the lunches may not be great, but it's at home that they are taught the most about eating habits. Burns me when the teachers are blamed for poor grades too. If a parent isn't willing to be invloved in their childs education, don't blame the teacher when the child doesn't do well. Sometimes people need to look in the mirror.
Like you said you can lead a horse to water....
Have a wonderful and restful summer and don't do too much with that foot, relax!

Crystal aka Caitlynsmommy said...

I love reading your posts and this one is no different!!!!

Amanda said...

Nobody should be embarrassed to say they are a lunch lady or anything else. Many will hotly deny this but all of us are equal. The differences are only the minds of people.

I already do cross guard duty but my son wanted to attend a whole day class next year, so I signed up for cafeteria duty too.

I'm not exactly sure what that entails or even if they will pick me for it but I guess I'll find out soon. :)

kt moxie said...

Wonderful post!!! Sums up so much of what I think when I hear parents blaiming the schools for all the problems in the world, including childhood obesity. I get frustrated when I have one of my daughter's friends over, and I offer up reasonable, kid-friendly choices for snacks or lunch, and I get "I don't like that." "I've never had those." "What is that?" "Do you have any Fruit Loops?" NO!

Jenners said...

So well said! Hail to the Lunch Ladies! Long may they live!

Brian Miller said...

kale is not bad these days but i can not imagine kids eating ugh on the parents...i do counseling with school age kids and hear it all the time...oh and david sent me...

Pat said...

David sent me! You sound like a wonderful person to be working in the school system. I like your honesty and your sense of humor!

becca said...

came over to visit at David's request but going to hang out


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I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some meant some comments.
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