Me and my girls

Me and my girls

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Great Sugar Cookie Debate - To be Organic or not to be

Ainsley has been at camp this week and the counsellors had planned a great activity. They had baked some sugar cookies and the kids were going to decorate their cookies and then eat them. I thought this would be great fun as Ainsley loves to bake with me and decorate so for her to be able to do this at camp as well was exciting for her.

Then I overheard a parent speaking with the counsellor about the fact that her child only ate organic food and were the sugar cookies organic. Of course they weren't. They were pre-cut ready to bake cookies. This parent expressed her dismay over this and said her child should not eat the cookie and that in fact perhaps this activity should not happen.

Now, when it comes to parents choices about how they raise their children, I try to be open-minded and basically have the philosophy that if it works for you (as long as it doesn't hurt the child) than all the power to you. This was the first time I had encountered a situation in which a parent was enforcing their own beliefs over my child and what she could and couldn't do.

Initially I was angry that this women, because of her personal belief was going to ruin this fun activity for Ainsley. I was really annoyed that another parent was attempting to dictate what Ainsley could or could not do at camp as well as the other children. Especially since the other parents had been telling their children that they would get to decorate cookies that day. So if they were to cancel this, there would be a lot of disappointed children who wouldn't understand.

I had to go and drop Juliet off at camp so as I passed the office I overheard the counsellor speaking with her supervisor and they decided to compromise by doing the activity at the end of the morning so that the child in question could participate but the mom would arrive in time to tell this poor kid he couldn't eat his cookie.

So I thought this was a good compromise, although I did feel badly for the kid who would have to throw out his creation. So my question for everyone is this and I am interested to have opinions from both sides:

Those parents who are organic, how would you have handled non-organic cookies at camp? For parents who aren't, what would you do if an activity had been cancelled becuase of 1 parents belief?


  1. wow. I agree with you - it seems very unfair for this one Mom to ruin the activity for all the kids. She's definitely in her right to talk to the counselors to find a solution for her child (if she's sooooo against it) but she's gone too far if she wants to impose this on others. I try to feed my DD organic where ever possible so I see her point of view on this. But I think it's unrealistic to think that your child will ONLY ever eat organic food. She needs to pick a different camp if that's all she cares about!

  2. Thanks Kathryn! I'm not picky about what my kids eat (except they must eat veggies at lunch and dinner :)). The funniest thing about it was that they had freezies the day before and her child probably had one. I'm sure freezies are worse for you than non-organic sugar cookies!

  3. Organic is great, but a single sugar cookie will not hurt. Whats more important making your child happy and bending your personal beliefs for the sake of your child or disappointing your child all for the sake of your beliefs? As for dictating that the activity should be cancelled, well thats rediculous. I am a vegetarian but it does not mean that i can go to a public place and ask that nobody eats meat. If it was that important to me i would have research what my child would be eating at camp first.

  4. I am very picky about what my children eat, but i do want my kids to have some treats - and some fun - some of the time. I normally wouldn't allow them to eat a sugar cookie at home, but if it's part of a fun activity like this ONE cookie isn't going to ruin their health, and I would feel worse about having them miss out.

    I hope she plans on homeschooling.

  5. Like every parent, I believe in doing my very best, to provide the best for my children. There is no doubt that this mother was doing just that.

    As my 18 year old daughter - with idealistic energy - marked her second year of ethical-vegetarian eating, we chatted one day. She spoke of how much better the world could be, if money did not have to exist, if everyone shared everything, if we ate whole, local, organic, non-GE foods, and if all meat came from happy animals. She lamented that she wished we could walk around barefoot and wear only pure hemp and cotton fabrics, if we... well, you get the idea.

    I smiled and the woman in me who longs to get back to basics in all things, found herself cheering her on. She is at an age, at a time in her life, when it is only right for her to hold such ideals.

    And yet, as our conversation (over green tea and homemade ginger cookies made from fair trade sugar and organic ginger, incidentally) wound its way to a close, she came to this conclusion, herself:

    We cannot live in a bubble. We cannot eat only organic foods and walk around only barefoot. Not only do the elements give cause to other needs, but (and this was the salient point) the progress of this world, and the adaptation that our bodies have made, mean that we need to make concessions to eating and wearing things that give a nod to living on the grid, so to speak.

    Yes, she pointed out, it is a very, very good thing to make Herculean efforts towards healthy, responsible choices... but we - and our children - must learn to live and love in THIS world.

    I love being humbled by learning from my children.