Timothy J. Bartik
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
Early Childhood Investment Corporation, Diversity Specialist
A fact that few know about me is that I am one of a minority of individuals who dislike, if not hate, chicken noodle soup. I honestly cannot recall the last time I have not even been bothered by the mere smell of it. More information than you need to know right?
I am not certain what the impact of this experience has had on me professionally, but as you read about further you can tell it had a profound one on my personal perspective of chicken noodle soup.
As a young child around the age of three my mother (a single parent at the time) often relied friends and neighbors to "babysit" me while she at work, run errands, or one of the hundred other things parents are required to do.
One particular neighbor took it upon herself to show my mother that a "picky" eater such as myself could be convinced to consume a wider range of food. As you have guessed by now I have never liked chicken noodle soup, but this individual felt compelled to force feed me an entire serving.
The next time my mother attempted to drop me off at their apartment I expressed fear and anxiety to the point of which my mother had to investigate further. Not only were these tell-tale signs these for any child they were very uncharacteristic of me including speaking up and opposing her choice - yes, I have been easy-going since a young age. Low and behold this individual was more than proud to identify their actions and had felt justified in doing so with little regard for myself, or my mothers own beliefs.
In retrospect this was over thirty years ago, and quite a bit has changed since that time. This scenario is one that often runs through my mind when I think of individuals who care for young children and whom are ultimately at the mercy of their caregivers while quietly reinforcing the importance of improved quality of care and increased parent education.
The incident in contrast to some realities we know is very minor, but take a moment to reflect the impact that a single traumatic experience has on a child and how we can best prevent such experiences.
In case you were wondering this was not my only traumatic experience with chicken noodle soup.
Jeremy Reuter is the Director of the Head Start Collaboration Office