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Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Knapsack on My Back

Ricki's mom, over at Beneath the Wings, bewails the Israeli cultural phenomenon of children bringing tons of junk food on school trips.  Her post inspired mine.

Many years ago, I think my eldest was in third grade at the time, I found myself confronted with the social pressures of junk food.

At the time, I never bought junk food.

A few years earlier, when she was in first grade, it became clear that, for school trips, I had to include special treats with her lunch.  I did not mind.  I sent her with a bag of pretzels and some dried fruit (usually dried apricots).

Around third grade, my daughter timidly approached me before her school trip.

"Ima," she asked, hesitantly, "do you think you could give me something more fun for the school trip?  No one wants to trade with me."

That's when I learned that, not only do all the kids bring junk food, but, they all swap/share their junk food.

My sweet kid was the only one bringing "healthy" snacks, which the other kids clearly did not want.

"What would you like?" I asked my little girl, prepared to hear a long list.

"Maybe you could get me a bag of  Bisli (a popular Israeli snack) and a package of  hamtzutzim (sour sticks)?" she asked shyly.

"That's it?" I asked, certain there must be more that she wanted.

That was it.

I, sort of, felt like I did when I finished reading Bontshe, the Silent, by I.L. Peretz.  (If you have not read this short story, you should.  I.L. Peretz also wrote If Not Higher, which is my all-time favorite short story.) 

Such a modest request from my daughter. 

I felt shamed by what I had imagined she would request.

"I would be happy to get those for you," I told her right away, and delighted in her simple joy.

I remember thinking: Wouldn't it be great if it would always be this easy to make her so happy?

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


rickismom said...

lovely post!

Marion said...

I see then that my challenge will be to send something that NO ONE WANTS! Thanks for the heads up! (We're allergic...I don't WANT them trading food!)

Henya said...

Thank you. You have reminded me - I have to make muffins for my kids to take for snacks. I always give my kids two - one to eat and one to trade. This way I hope they will eat something healthy.
Please check out my blog later on today for the award I have given you.

Kath said...

I remember always trading food on trips, I think I ended up almost never eating what I went with. (Just wanted to delurk too, hi :))

Renee said...

RivkA I loved the clock story and commented.

I love this too, what a sweet little girl.

Love Renee xoxo

Leah Goodman said...