Compassion Is In Fashion

A friend of mine is a food blogger, and he recently shared a story that really made me angry. Some employees at a fast food restaurant were bragging about playing a trick on girls that they felt were too skinny to be ordering a Diet Coke. Instead, they would serve a regular Coke and then die laughing when the clueless waif walked away with her refreshment.

So many feelings seethed through my veins whilst reading this post. Why do some people find it to be humorous to denounce others’ food needs? What if these skinny girls were diabetic? What if they don’t eat sugar? What if… WHO CARES? They want Diet Coke, for the love of Pete.

Kids can be cruel, and now that the back-to-school commercials are about to commence, it’s important that we remind our kids to respect people’s food requests. I know that it’s chic to make fun of all of those people who now, all of a sudden, have a gluten intolerance, but as Atticus Finch told Scout in Harper Lee’s touted novel To Kill a Mockingbird, you can’t understand someone else “until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Maybe we think it’s silly that Johnny doesn’t eat eggs, but maybe they gross him out. Or the texture reminds him of Silly Putty? Or even more dangerous, perhaps Johnny is highly allergic.

Today’s crazy world has us connected like we’ve never been before, but ironically, we’re also so divided. It’s easy to tell someone else that they’re weird or wrong, especially when others join in on this hive mentality. As parents, teachers, and mentors, it is our job to teach and remind kids about compassion. It’s good to emphasize that if the tables were turned, how would they like to be treated? It’s never fun to be the odd man out, so it’s not only important to be an advocate for the odd man out, we must also be diligent when we see others trying to put one over on the little guy.

Nobody wants to be allergic to stuff, especially food, so let’s just give everyone a break already. Compassion is the new black, and cruelty is SO passé.

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