(This isn't really about food. Duh.)
First, we are babies and must rely on someone to feed us. We don’t know what to eat and somebody has to keep constant watch over us to make sure we aren’t crawling around on the floor eating fuzz balls and Barbie shoes. While fuzz balls won’t kill us, Barbie shoes could. We sit in high chairs getting spoon fed until the next baby comes along and pushes us to the booster seat.
Once we make it to the booster seat, somebody (who still controls what we eat) puts the food in front of us while we learn to put it in our own mouths. We also get to be in charge of learning how much we can eat at a time without still feeling hungry or getting sick. And then another baby is born which pushes us to the table.
We enter into the long period from childhood to young adult. We learn what is good for us and what we like according to our own tastes. We learn to balance the two. As we near the end of this phase, we should be in charge of our own eating.
Now we are adults and responsible for getting our own food. Some of us will grow gardens, some of us will go to the store. Likely, those with gardens will trade with their neighbors and those Safeway shoppers will occasionally go see what Weis has in their produce dept. We learn which store has the best meat and who grows the best tomatoes. We form eating habits. Some of us will exist on a cheap diet and some will become pigs who eat more than their share of the available resources. Some of us will eat at McDonald’s every night, because while we know we still have to eat, we are looking for the easiest option.
At some point, we become responsible for feeding others. This is where it gets interesting. You can tell a lot by what a person eats. You can tell a lot by what a person feeds someone else. Here’s something for thought:
What about the mother who makes sure her child has the best food possible while she eats a diet of junk? I might infer she knows about nutrition and wants to give her family the best there is to eat. However, I might also infer she doesn’t, for whatever reason, think she’s valuable enough to warrant the same “best of the best” she’s giving to everyone else.
How about the mother who eats well, but feeds her kids McDonald’s every night? I might decide this mother is selfish and has not fully matured. While she seems to understand the value of eating properly and knows which foods are best, she (Because it’s easier? Because she doesn’t know how to tell her child “no”?) gives in and allows her child to eat whatever he wants…even though she knows that’s not really good for him.
What about the mother who makes sure everyone eats well? I would view this mother as someone who knows the value of nutrition for both herself and her child. She knows the foods that are going to make her child healthy and able to grow. She understands those same foods are going to benefit her. She realizes they both need to grow (in different ways), but growth is essential if she is still going to be able to be an effective parent as her child continues to grow through adulthood and who will need different things from her as that process continues. The important part of this scenario is that mother knows she still needs to eat, she knows what food is good for her and she knows where to find it.
*This is not to be read from place of judgment. Not all mothers like the same food. For example, not everyone loves sushi. One might get her zinc from eating seaweed snacks and another might get hers from a multi-vitamin…both realize if they don’t get enough zinc, anemia will occur. They know they need to keep themselves strong, because, while needs evolve, their kids are always going to need them in some capacity. The mother who chooses less than the best for herself ultimately is choosing less than the best for her child. I suppose that opinion is arguable, but it's doubtful my mind will change.