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Food builds bridges to bring us together

      As the events of this week unfolded, I felt a bewildering mix of feelings including shame, pride, patriotism, and empathy. Shame for not being more politically active (tough as a teacher), pride that cub 2 voted, patriotism that the people had spoken, and empathy for those among us who are truly frightened by the election results. The fear of the unknown is often most emphatic, especially for children. Our president-elect has become the boogie man of their next four years. Keep in mind that fears are often unfounded but they remain fears until proven otherwise. As simple as it may sound, food builds bridges to bring us together
      It is true. Food builds bridges. A plate of brownies for a neighbor, soup kitchens for the homeless, cookies for college students during finals, dinners with colleagues, shared lunches in school, international fairs, and cookie exchanges are all examples of how food builds bridges. Teachers  and all Americans need to continue to practice civility and empathy. Food can help in that regard. We need to share our not only our cultures but also those things we have in common. We all share the need for food. Sharing our various food and recipes draws us closer. Together we are stronger! Together we will push through our collective fears.
     I will have a cookie exchange for my classes. Despite food rules regarding food in schools in my state, we can manage this event. Keeping in mind the specific food issues of our class, we will each bake fresh cookies that we want to share. Each person will then take home a new dozen cookies representative of their classmates.
     Some schools opt to have Thanksgiving dinners with the whole school. This is especially lovely if families are encouraged to bring their own favorite recipes to share. We must remember that just because this is American it doesn't mean that all families celebrate Thanksgiving. Tamales, Noah's pudding, gluten free bread, ratatouille, baklava, and yes, even haggis should be welcome! The very fabric of our nation is built on a wide range of recipes. Together we are stronger. Together we will defeat the boogie man of fear for our students.

Suzanne Rogers


District Director of Professional development, AP English teacher, ELA Coach and cradle United Methodist. 


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