Orange You Glad You Turned Down the Cookie?

“No, thank you,” she said as I offered a cookie.

“No, thank you,” she said as I offered a munchkin.

“Yes!” she said as I offered my carrots.

Here was a 9-year old turning down the sugary sweet snacks in favor of the infinitely healthier ones.

To understand the significance is to consider the evolution this student has undergone since telling me early in the year, “I can’t eat too much sugar. The doctor says I won’t be able to breathe.”

When I heard that, I made a mental note that the baking and candy around the holidays would have to take a backseat this year because a child who was beginning to understand the level of her unhealthiness was trying to make a change.

Foolishly, I did bring in cupcakes once after this, and after telling me she’d keep half for her mom, she couldn’t resist finishing it all while I got her a bag to store the leftover piece. I felt immense sadness. She looked like the cat who swallowed the canary and was clearly embarrassed by her choice.

Since then, though, any treats provided by other teachers have gone into a bag and brought home for others. The amazing resolve this student has shown has been quite impressive and quite inspirational.

Yesterday, when I needed the kids to snack on something during the test break so they’d get a jolt of energy, she turned her nose up at the unhealthy options. But she sure did gobble those carrots.

I sent a note home commending her efforts and telling mom and dad that I was so inspired that I would bring in a healthy snack – a vegetable or fruit – for the whole class today. I didn’t have a chance to get to the store for baby carrots, so I’ll bring in some orange slices instead.

It takes a special kid to understand the consequences of unhealthy eating and refuse to indulge, especially when it’s not the cool thing to do. With today’s oranges, I hope I am sending a positive message to all the kids and hope I’ll remember this lesson in the future.


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