You’ve probably heard this a time or two growing up as your parent’s way to guilt you to join the “Happy Plate Club.”
I may even be guilty of repeating this.
There is so much harm, confusion, manipulation in this statement.
What is the message we are trying to relay?
Children starving so let’s help them by eating all your food.
Do you want to become a starving child by skipping one food group?
Africa is a continent. Namibia, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mali, Zimbabwe and 46 others are countries in Africa.
I don’t have children, so I honestly could be speaking out of turn, but I do not think to teach our children (nieces, nephews, cousins, etc.) that disparities such as hunger, HIV/AIDS, rape, child trafficking, only happen to other people in other places on the globe. I think this is why so many of us lack compassion. We have the illusion that these problems are never our problems.
Here’s the thing. Yes, there are starving children in ugh– Africa. But, there are starving children in America.
If it’s one thing I have learned living in Namibia, is that Namibians don’t waste food! Foods that may seem taboo to most Westerners are edible and eaten here. I’ve tried cow lungs, chicken feet, along with an unidentifiable mutton curry and people I encounter on a daily basis are not starving or malnourished. They simply use everything God has given them. They don’t waste.
We need to stop using this statement as a scare tactic to have children not waste food. It’s insensitive and caters to a false stereotype about Africa. Africa; Namibia, and other countries have their problems, but America does too.
I can only imagine the tables turned and a parent telling their child, “Finish your food, there are wasteful children in America.”