I do. But not because my (step) Dad drilled it into my head.
Loo's a toddler, a very active one with limited time in his schedule for eating. I throw a lot of food away. I guess I could get all upset about that, but I don't. Food is a renewable resource--you buy it, you eat some, you throw some away. You get more.
There's no doubt that the distribution of food is grossly inequitable in this world, but I'm not going to ask my kid to care about that, yet.
When I was kindergarten age, I remember every time I didn't want to eat something, being hassled about the kids in Bangladesh who didn't get enough to eat. What did I care at 5 years old? I just didn't want the rest of my hot dog right then. Poor children who didn't have enough to eat weren't going to change that.
I vividly remember being so frustrated by my dad's Bangladesh routine. What was he going on about? Would he please leave me alone? Jeesh. He made such a big deal of it that my sisters and I used to mock one another with taunts of "Bangladesh!" That's what I came away with.
The compassion and social sensibilities I now have were not in the least bit fostered by pressure from my dad to eat and not waste.
I'm letting Loo call it. If he doesn't want that string cheese, well, he doesn't. I get wiser about whether or not I give him a snack when he says he wants one, or I eat it instead of him, or (gasp) we toss it. Yes, it is ultimately a waste of money, and I do care about that, but that's mine to worry about, not his.
I get a lot of pleasure out of watching Loo eat freely. He has no food hangups--it's too new to him. He trusts food's availability so much that he doesn't even think about it. I don't know why that touches me so deeply but it does.
I am so aware of his vulnerability and dependence on us when I prepare food for him or watch him eating. It makes me feel humbled that I am in a position to care for a child this way. He's so certain that food will be there. He doesn't have to think about it. Why would I mess with that?
It is absolutely tragic that not all children have that luxury. I was by no means raised in starving conditions but food was an issue and to this day I fight the effects. I don't want to do that to my child.
I don't think young children are equipped to grasp or care about big picture problems like starvation in other countries. I do not make light of these problems, but I'm not going to ask my kid to care about them right now. There's plenty of time for that.