The musings of an academic geek yogi
I vividly remember years ago as I was preparing my daughter for kindergarten and was distressed to read about how before the age of thirteen most girls suffer from emotional problems ranging from depression and cutting to eating disorders and pressure to please, according to Stephen Hinshaw. This data resonated with me because middle school was the most challenging part of my formative years. Hinshaw's book, "The Triple Bind," was published more than a decade ago and did not anticipate how cell phones and social networking application have made navigating puberty worse.
My daughter is now 12-years-old and I am determined to be an active part of her life to hedge against the threats that face young women. Every mother of a teenage girl will understand that I have not been able to fully protect my daughter from the world or the world from my daughter, but I remain her confidant.
There is one thing that has made the biggest difference in maintaining our relationship and it's our weekly lunches.
At least once, usually twice a week, I utilize her school's open lunch policy and eat on campus with her and her friends. When my work schedule is more hectic and I miss our coveted lunches, my absence manifests in unpleasant ways.
Last week, I was notified that our school district is considering removing this Downtown Elementary program. My daughter will have graduated before the program is dissolved, but it is still an outright travesty. Sitting at a green picnic table in a shaded patio outside her school cafeteria, my daughter, Inara, implored me to speak out against this change. She said, “Mom, you need to tell people how much we love our lunches.”
Our misguided leaders are removing yet another lifeline instead of modeling a successful program throughout our city. I hope you will join me at Bakersfield City School District's upcoming board meeting against this proposed change. School board meetings are open to the public and occur at 6:00 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 1300 Baker St.
Middle school girls too soon are forced to face the precipice of womanhood. These girls need us, parents, and this community, to provide them safe spaces to still be children as they make that difficult transition. In this high tech world perhaps the BCSD school board has forgotten the best solution is giving parents the chance to show up.
Chris Cruz-Boone is a mother of two and a Bakersfield College communication professor.