Food for Thought

Nina - Raleigh, North Carolina
Entered on August 30, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Food for Thought

Children hate vegetables. They detest the bitter, crunchy and slimy stuff. Kids will complain until parents give in and let them eat either greasy, over-fried fast food or over-processed, sugary, lemon-lime flavored, carbonated drinks. What happened to being grateful for what you have and not complaining? Next time I see someone starts to moan about having to finish the disgusting green, soggy glop of steamed Brussels sprouts and a colorful assortment of other lumpy, bitter, boiled vegetables on his or her plate, I’ll tell them nine words: I believe in always finishing what’s on my plate.

The most respected person in my life is my father. He taught me more than school, politicians and old wise men ever could. He did it all one night, over dinner. I was whining and complaining that I couldn’t finish the sweet, soon-to-be-puke-inducing purple cabbage on my plate while my father glared impassively at me. He cleared his throat, and began the story of his childhood, that would lead me to discover my belief.

As a child, I always believed he had the typical childhood comprised of playing with friends, digging for worms and playing in mud. His childhood actually involved him trying to find food to eat for his family everyday. He told me that at the worst times of the Cultural Revolution, he had been forced to eat dry, bitter and tasteless tree bark. He told how he couldn’t complain because the government expected him to be thankful he was still alive. If he ever decided to complain, however, his food would have been eaten by his five other siblings by the time he realized grumbling wouldn’t change a thing. I never complained about having to eat purple cabbage, or any thing else ever again. I now believe in always finishing what’s on my plate.

In that one story, my father not only taught me never to waste food, but also to be thankful for what I have. I believe in always finishing what’s on my plate because sometimes everyone has to do things they don’t want to, but we do them. Sure, it might be a nuisance to have to clean my room, or wash the dishes, but I make sure I finish because that’s what I am entrusted to do. I believe in always finishing what’s on my plate for my father. I believe in always finishing what’s on my plate.