Feeding Young Minds

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Baking brings me joy. But last night’s mission involved a deeper purpose.

I wanted to reward those students who make it to our last class meeting before spring break.

I already know what you’re thinking. What college professor makes baked goods for their students?

Well, if you’ve taught young adults in the last decade, you might understand. Students are hungry. Really hungry.

I teach a wide variety of students. Some come from affluence, others know the streets. But they’re all stressed out of their minds. Sometimes this leads to medication that alters their metabolism. Other times it inspires binging – usually on something very unhealthy. Most, quite simply, forget what it means to take care of themselves.

One semester, in particular, comes to mind.

“Professor Fortenberry, I haven’t eaten in over 24 hours.” She was visibly shaken (and understandably on edge).

Immediately, I searched my bag. A badly bruised banana. I offered it with maternal love. She devoured.

But, if I’m honest, this happens fairly often. I’ve given students broken chocolate, a handful of peanuts, and even pretzels pilfered from our department’s faculty lounge.

So why in the world – on a random Wednesday night – would I bake?

Because my heart knows that those most hungry will never ask to be fed.

*Follow Lauren on Twitter and Facebook.

::today’s daily inspiration::

15 thoughts on “Feeding Young Minds

  1. I love, love, love this post!! I, too, bake for my students–an activity that began in my early career as a dorm parent in boarding schools. Not only are students not necessarily eating well, when they do eat, it is often in a dining hall with a predictably monotonous schedule of food. I now work in a busy student support center, and we have begun a tradition of twice-per-semester “open houses” (during midterms and finals). We offer support, stress relief, and FOOD–mostly baked goods. These events have become as much about the food as anything. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a fantastic idea! I truly think what students remember most about professors/staff/administrators on the college level are the ones that went the extra mile. After that first encounter with the banana, I do my best now to ensure I have something to offer, even when I have to “steal” it 🙂 Food can do amazing things – truly.

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  2. I have loved baking for others my whole life. It’s an act of friendship and love.

    Once though, when I had a cantankerous co-worker who was making my life miserable, my husband suggested that I “kill her with kindness.” So I baked some muffins and brought them into work. I put them in our break room and invited her to help herself.

    “What did you do,”she snarled, “put crushed glass in the them?”

    I was so taken aback that I didn’t even know how to respond. I think she didn’t know how to receive kindness.

    That’s the only time I’ve had freshly baked goodies refused.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sweet post! It’s really true that there will always be someone to appreciate it. Today we bought fruit and popcorn for a parent meeting after school, but when only a few parents could attend, I gave it to a group of teachers who were so grateful, and devoured it. I mean– so grateful, for a plate of grapes and popcorn. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a generous gesture. Yes, when I’ve had a full day, any food offering is appreciated (and thereafter gobbled)! My students LOVED the muffins and cookies I made. Those who are brave enough to ask for seconds, they steal my whole heart ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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