Dear Jamie Oliver: What You’re Telling Us Hurts
This morning’s headline out of the UK reads, “U.S. loses appetite for Jamie Oliver as 75 LA school districts turn away his Food Revolution show” and for some reason, it didn’t really come as a surprise because sometimes, when a message hurts, it’s easier to just shoot the messenger.
There have been a lot of headlines recently addressing Jamie Oliver’s efforts to stir up a food revolution here in the US, and lately, not all of them have been kind. A recent article in Esquire called “Is Jamie Oliver the Biggest Loser of All?”
And as I reflected on this father of four’s attempt to educate and inspire us, I realized that perhaps he wasn’t aware of one key point in communicating his message: His knowledge hurts.
It hurts to hear that what we’ve been feeding our kids causes harm. It hurts to hear that our kids don’t know the names of vegetables, or that our lunchrooms aren’t designed to serve real food or that we haven’t prioritized funding for our children’s school lunch programs. And it hurts to hear that America is one of the fattest countries on the planet.
To hear all of this causes injury. It creates a wound. It inflicts damage. It hurts.
And in a world in which there is already so much injury, grief and heartache, it is as if we are simply saying, “Enough. We can’t handle any more.”
But at the end of the day, when we are laying in bed, reflecting on how much we don’t want to hear this message anymore, we quietly know it to be true. And shooting the messenger won’t help. Because we see our system’s failings in the health of our families. We see that our failing to prioritize funding for the school lunch program is failing our kids.
But perhaps more than being reminded of this, what we need to be reminded of is that each and every one of us matter and that together, we can affect remarkable change.
So maybe, rather than a revolution inspired by food, the revolution actually begins with love, since the knowledge hurts. A lot. And then, with compassion for the fact that what we are learning is ripping our hearts out, we can then work together to restore the health of our families.