When my stepdaughter started high school, we asked her about her first day when she got back home. There were the usual jitters and hiccups, but the sad part is that she ate lunch by herself. The kids she knew had lunch at a different time. Although she shrugged off any hurt feelings, we felt sad, for her, and for other kids who end up eating alone.
It struck me that schools should have a program or a motto or an intention that no one should have to eat lunch alone. Kids should have their antennae out for kids eating alone, just like we encourage them to report or intervene if they see bullying behaviors or cheating. We know that isolation, loneliness, and alienation can lead to larger issues, including major acts of violence that we see in schools. Perhaps not eating alone would help kids to feel more connected. It could be one part of a large and complicated solution.
I was fortunate to work with Amanda Lange and members of her wonderful choir at Deerfield High School. They sang and helped to shape the arrangement. Ryan Peterson engineered the recording.
There’s an organization called No One Eats Alone. They put a focus on the importance of this issue. Schools focus on it for a day, which is February 14 this year, but I think it should be an ongoing theme.
And thus, this song.
Don’t Let Anyone Eat Lunch Alone
Someone’s in the lunchroom and they take a seat
And pull out some food that they’ve brought in to eat
If they’re at a table and no one’s around
Walk up and ask them if you can sit down.
Don’t let anyone
No not anyone
Don’t let anyone
Eat lunch alone 2x
There are gaggles of kids who giggle and smile
They dance and they laugh, they’ve been friends a while.
The lunchroom is busy. The lunchroom is loud
But it’s easy to feel all alone in a crowd…Chorus
Most people feel like they want to fit in
That they’ve got a place and they’ve got a friend.
But you might remember a time that you knew.
When you wish that somebody had sat down by you.
We want the whole world to be better for all
But sometimes we help most with things that seem small.
If you want to be a hero in school
Reach out to someone ‘cause kindness is cool…Chorus
© Stuart Stotts 2019