Recently, there has been some discussion about a Dutch primary school that has stopped allowing kids to consume anything but water, fruit and ordinary sandwiches. Many have debated the role of the school in children’s lifestyle, saying that dietary choices are for the parents to make. One father that felt particularly strong about the matter, stated that “water is for dogs”, while others appreciated the school teaching children about a healthy diet.
For me, however, this debate has nothing to do with health and diet. It has to do with personality, with inner strength. Growing up, I had annoyingly responsible parents. The kind that would set an alarm to ensure that I would only use the computer for half an hour a day. Each day, they would send me off to school with nothing but an apple and sugar-free lemonade. I would await snack-time with fear, anxiously staring at the clock. As it struck eleven, backpacks would open and my classmates would reveal the most delicious snacks, one even more indulgent than the other.
I can still smell the chocolate covered cookies. Late at night, I hear the sound of their straws poking into their fancy juice boxes. I can still feel the disapproving glances in the direction of my apple. While they feasted on their sugary goods, me and the other rejects of the class reluctantly chewed our apples, exchanging glances of sympathy. No one understood the pain we were going through.
All we had was each other, brothers in arms. No child should have to experience the things we went through. What I would’ve given for complete snack-equality, a world where we could all live as consumption-comrades. Please, parents, just give your kid an apple. If you don’t do it for their health, do it for equality.