January 23, 2014 by k12serviceinitiative
“An estimated 100 billion pounds of food, enough to totally eliminate hunger, is thrown away annually in the United States. It does not have to be this way.” AmpleHarvest.org
It’s nothing short of amazing that we continue to allow this contrast to exist without correction. We have the supplies, tools, and intelligence to fix this issue, but we don’t. At what point do we ask ourselves as the adults in charge, “How is this educating our youth?”
At home we role model for our youth – watching our behaviors and choices. At best, in the realm of food insecurity, we volunteer with our youth to model giving and care for others. We have yet to step back and realize that we are educating them to allow the unconscionable to exist among ourselves – in each and every community – to allow others to remain hungry – while we periodically apply a temporary patch to the problem. We should be collectively embarrassed and apologize to our youth for this ongoing gross error on our part.
As adults, we are preoccupied. We continue to focus on problem solving as we always have. We form the same committees, with the same charges, asking the same questions, creating the same reports. Our adult mass stands in the way of progress as we continue to accept minor, temporary improvements for basic survival needs. And we have the audacity to evaluate the academic progress of our youth while we make very little progress at the national level.
The opening quote suggests that we can meet the need for food. Let’s prove it. Let’s fix food. It’s easy. It’s inspiring. We need to coordinate – not as we do at present, but from the bottom up with our children. We can combine the best models to create a system of solution that is known nationwide; a system operating in every community; something we all know and understand.
Given tools and opportunity, our youth, with their teachers and parents would create a lasting system of solution. Youth need to become part of the overall system of change. They need practice in creating, assessing, and sustaining these systems. Youth will reorient our thinking and teach us a better way – a way that is possible. Our youth need to engage in their communities. Our youth need to feel the altruistic side of their nature converge with the goals of education. Youth need to see the match between the problems they see in the world and the goals of education.
Food is an easy place to start. Let’s demonstrate our capabilities,track our outcomes, and fix this. Once we see how we can come together – how our youth can lead the way – we will see how we can approach other areas. We can rediscover the largess of our compassion and the strength of our intelligence to create outstanding progress.