Today, I realized that I have to try harder to explain the concept of privilege to my 5 and 7 year old children and I'm not entirely sure how to go about doing this. My 7 year old just came up to me with her shirt up, rubbing her stomach, crying, and said "I'm starving."
I don't like when people who are actually just hungry say that they are starving, but I understand that I need to be somewhat forgiving when children speak. Usually, I just correct her and say "no, you are hungry" and get her a snack. Today, something set me off. Maybe it is because she just ate a rather large dinner followed by dessert only an hour before this comment. She also had a larger than usual breakfast and lunch, followed by a trip to the store with her father for a snack. Is it possible that she was having a growth spurt or something and was legitimately hungry? Yes. But more likely, she was just bored and wanted to eat.
The drama really bothers me. Crying and rubbing her stomach as though she hadn't eaten all day. She is often quite dramatic, such as when she gets hurt or when something exciting happens, but this was beyond excessive.
I told her that she is not starving. I told her that there are children all over the world who have not eaten ANYTHING today, or who have eaten very little, many of whom are not putting up the same fuss as she is. I reminded her that there are children who die because they do not have enough food. I told her that she needs to understand how privileged she is to get 3 meals and 2-4 snacks a day. Every day. I told her that she does not know what it means to be hungry... truly hungry. I am vaguely aware of what it means; I have gone days without eating because I did not have the means to get food, and weeks without eating anything more than a bowl of soup with bread a day from the soup kitchen, but I do not understand what it means to be starving.
I would like to find a book, movie, or even a youtube video that is age appropriate for her. The problem is that most of these films are deeply disturbing for a variety of reasons, often just because they can be incredibly ethnocentric. I want her to understand her privilege.