Sometimes we don't even know a situation didn't fit until we are presented with one that fits. For some reason the middle schools in this area the last two years decided it would be a good thing to have a controlled lunch hour. So at the beginning of each year, they had assigned seating in the lunch room.
We are talking, 300 kids, 3 lunches, with assigned seats. The kids were to file in without talking, take their assigned seats and sit without eating while they listened to announcements my daughter felt were unrelated to her life. They probably were related, but were old news for those who paid attention.
I was at a couple of those lunches. There are always that small handful of kids who can't settle down and thus extend the time the kids had to eat. They wanted complete silence.
It seemed very military to me and I had to wonder what their intention was. It was the only time of day these kids had to relax, see their friends and talk. After they were allowed to eat and/or get in the lunch line for their food, they still had to be quiet; they were allowed to visit in whispered voices and God forbid anyone laugh out loud.
My daughter is not a trouble maker, so I wasn't concerned about her getting in trouble. She packed her lunch every day, so I wasn't concerned about her not having enough time to eat, although after all the whole rigmarole with announcements there wasn't a lot of time left in their half hour lunch.
Every chance I got, I would tell the administration they needed to let this practice go. What were they teaching our children? How to eat without talking? How were our kids ever going to figure out where to sit in high school? I feel they should be able to pinpoint the trouble and discipline the few, rather than punish the whole.
Consequently, my daughter never liked lunch. I don't even mean the environment of the lunch room; I mean food did not sound good to her at lunch and she would come home with her lunch half eaten almost every day. This was a concern for me because she ate very little in the morning as she's not hungry when she wakes up.
I was constantly trying to find some food item that would sound good to her when she got to lunch. But still she came home from school with half eaten lunches. I even started making her lunches myself trying to entice her to eat at lunchtime.
I didn't connect the uptight atmosphere of those middle school lunches with my daughter's rejection of food at lunch until about two weeks into this school year. We were sitting at the dinner table when she exclaimed how much she enjoyed her lunch (the food) this year. She went on to describe how the bread, turkey and lettuce were just the perfect combination and tasted so good.
I was surprised and mentioned that she'd been eating the same turkey, bread and lettuce combination for a couple years. She said, "Maybe it's because lunch is more relaxed than it used to be."
Not only is lunch better, but my daughter, who used to drag herself out of bed every morning, is wide awake and ready to go every morning. She still doesn't like morning or going to school for that matter (she hates information), but she's more rested and energetic in her school day.
So if there are any middle school administrators, teachers, parents out there to listen: Let the strict lunches go. That is the only time kids have to talk to their friends, eat, and relax in their busy school day. Discipline the problem, not the whole
Yes, high school fits my daughter well.