There are time when I am glad to be an ORF. Getting up time is one of them, knowing that the only reasons I have to get up and scurry about to go someplace are not due to the servitude of employment. Meal time is a mixed bag but this week it has been largely positive, largely because of the ponderous inertia of the Yankee government and the predation of social engineers.
The primary cause of this joy was the announcement by the Yankee government, via the news media in my instance, of changes to the shule lunch regime. I came to reflect on the government’s, and social engineer’s, perversion of resistance is met with greater punishment rather than any type of kritik. The new regime is supposed to be healthier with more whole grains, vegetables (including catchup?) and less fat and sodium.
This despite test data from pilot shules that indicates the students will just not eat what they don’t like and thus instead of eating “healthy”, eat less, presumably making matters worse at home but on the ledger of government – good, parents – bad, a profit. (I regret I can’t find this reference. Mea Culpa.) There is even counter information on the obesity war front, a study [Link] indicating that shule junk food is NOT a substantive factor in causing obesity. Unfortunately, like the War on Drugs and the Global War on Terror, (and Vietnam,) any body is that of the enemy.
Sadly, the shule lunch program has always been a playground of social engineers and religionists. If the Yankee government can receive any credit for its heavy handed ways it is for relieving shule children of the confusion and stress of being subjected to one religionist doctrine at shule and (probably) another at home. This was not without some benefit, at least for the nerds. I recall in elementary shule being subjected to prayers at both the start of class and at lunch time. The former were standardized with variations but the latter were often delivered by one of the do-gooders and their deviations from our parents’ formulae gave the attentive, perceptive, and cognitive – nerds, in short – something to muse on over lunch.
The food at lunch was also a matter of social engineering. The elementary shule I attended was an old mill shule and had a long tradition of educating (training?) of grubby children fated to follow their grubby parents into wage servitude in the cotton mills. They were generally unprepared and under-responsive to the influx of children parented by ‘rocket scientists’. The best tried and did their best in the face of chronically inadequate budgets and college educated parents demanding what they considered minimum standards 10 dB above the shule’s previous best. The lunch room was not part of the best.
Children and parents alike uttered complaints about food that was unpalatable and unhealthy to thirty and forty years veterans of ladle and steam table. The requirement to clean one’s adult sized tray was confronted as criminal, making enforcement all the more strict. Criticize a bigot and you create a martinet. The lunch room prayers were abandoned after a Yankee army Judge Advocate General type descended on a faculty meeting and talked about criminal sanctions and what it was like to run a shule under martial law. Disgruntled, the do-gooders abandoned the practice entirely rather than dilute their rants.
The effect on the food was nil, largely due to the juju of the great god Budget. As a result, a class split occurred. The mill kids pretty much continued to eat the prepared food, but the rocket kids began to mostly eat brought lunches. There was a great contrast between green institutional plastic trays and colorful lunch boxes, with a few brown paper bags offering contrast. The ‘eat it all’ rule still held but brought lunches tended to have everything wrapped and even the girls had pockets in those days. And all in obedience to parental guidance that some of the food was to be saved for afternoon recess, or while waiting for bus after shule.
So I am glad now that all I have to do when I eat lunch is contend with the instructions form physicians, and FD SCP, and the battle to find foodstuffs across several grocery stores. Preparation is a joy compared to those days of childhood because now, at least, the only do-gooder that bothers me is my own conscience. But I know, deep down, that the kids are still stressed and strained at lunch in shule, and no wonder they eat too much or too little.
One of the strengths of homo sapiens is that we always teach our children the wrong things by intent and the right things by error.