“Mommy, I’m starving.” My 4 1/2 year old has taken to announcing his hunger in this manner. He no longer asks for a snack, or when dinner is, he just announces that he is starving.
I have no idea where he first heard the word “starving,” but as one of the moms participating in Moms Fighting Hunger, this topic has been on my mind a lot recently, and I decided I did not want him to take this word lightly. We sat down together, and over a bowl of grapes, we discussed hunger.
I asked him to think about how his tummy felt right now, and then to imagine if we didn’t have the bowl of grapes, or the cupboard full of food, or the food filling the refrigerator. I asked him to think about going through his day with that yucky, hungry feeling. Would he be able to focus on stories, or preschool, or soccer? I explained that there are children whose mommies and daddies cannot give them snacks when they are hungry, and who often have to do without regular meals.
His eyes got wide, and he asked if we could feed them. I told him we could help, and that we would be doing several things this month to keep children fed. He asked why the mommies and daddies of hungry kids don’t feed them, or don’t go to the store. I told him that their mommies and daddies love them very much, but that some people just are not able to buy the same food we have.
My heart cries thinking about those children. I hate that there are hungry children. I think this conversation was likely the first time my son was exposed to the cruelty that can exist in the world. I did that to him and I hate it. I hate it. But I think it would be worse for him to remain in ignorance of others’ suffering. In order for him to remain the caring, sensitive, sweet boy he is, we believe it is important for him to feel a responsibility to help those less fortunate than he is. Was he too young for this conversation? Perhaps. But we want caring for those less fortunate to be part of the fabric of who he is. We want to instill these values early on.
September is Hunger Action Month, and along with several other Moms Fighting Hunger, I am hosting a blog hop to share ideas and activities for families to help in the hunger fight. Please link up any of your ideas. Or if you don’t have a post, we would love ideas or photographs shared below in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter. No Kid Hungry outlines several things you can do to help in the fight against child hunger, some of which are as simple as wearing orange from September 6-9.