I was trawling through my Facebook feed yesterday when I was distracted by one post in particular. It wasn’t the content that caught my attention however, but rather the brigade of comments that accompanied it.
With many schools going back this week after a leisurely six weeks off (one can only dream), the post was providing some suggestions for school lunchbox snacks.
I didn’t think there was anything particularly bad about the items suggested. Most of the suggestions were only small snack sized portions, and obviously not every item on the list would go into the lunchbox at one time.
I knew that if I were a kid, these would sound like pretty popular options to me. In fact two of these suggestions were in my own lunch box earlier that day, which I had carb counted and given insulin for. I imagine that I would feel very comfortable among my friends in the school yard with suggested snacks such as an apple or a yoghurt.
The aggressive comments, however, told a very different story. People felt the need to begin picking these suggestions apart for a number of different reasons, and linking them to all sorts of horrible diabetes end games. These comments were a pretty poor reflection on the community that I have come to know and cherish.
Yet I couldn’t help but come back to the bit about two of those very suggestions being in my own lunch box earlier that day. Put yourself in the shoes of a parent, or any person with diabetes for that matter, who is packing some of these very typical school food items into their lunchbox. How would you feel, reading a brigade of comments shaming your food choices and your parenting?
Now imagine that the person reading these comments isn’t in as comfortable a place as you are with diabetes. Where could that potentially lead you to? Feelings of guilt? Depression? Diabetes burnout? Disordered eating?
Despite how much of myself I’ve shared with you on these pages, it is not my place to give you advice, tell you how you should be managing your diabetes, or be making you feel guilty if your approach to diabetes doesn’t agree with mine.
Diabetes management is a very individual issue, and I truly believe that the foundation should be built on the needs and preferences of the individual. If that means letting a kid be a kid and eat a muesli bar or a handful of popcorn, then so be it. But hey, that’s only my two cents.
If the suggestion you see online doesn’t suit your individual needs, then you’re certainly not obliged to take it next time.
P.S. I think Diabetes Australia have done an outstanding job on the resource Mastering Diabetes in Preschools and Schools, and I strongly encourage you to check it out here.