For the past two days, I’ve been in data meetings. (Please… try to restrain your intense feelings of jealousy, envy and resentment.) Our college is working with our software company’s consultant to try and improve our system and processes. Apparently, we have numerous opportunities.
On the morning of the second day, one of our colleagues brought in a container of homemade chocolate candies. Another brought in two boxes of donuts. Kind of a sweet start to the day and one that several of us genuinely enjoyed. I think that even the ones who are trying to avoid sugar appreciated the thought. Maybe it was more calories than any of us really needed but it was still a nice expression of sharing and thoughtfulness. Maybe some protein would have been good but no one thought to bring a couple of packages of beef jerky.
Having grown up in a previous century in the South, I admit to still carrying the cultural burden of believing that food is an appropriate response to most any human situation. Death in the family? Take food. New baby? Take food. Wedding? Take lots of food. Bankruptcy? Take food. New neighbors moving in? Take food. Old neighbors moving out? Take food. Two days of all-day-long data meetings? Surely by now you’ve caught the pattern.
Frankly, I rather doubt that this is strictly a Southern response. It seemed the same way in central Ohio, northwestern Missouri and northern Oregon when I visited there. I suspect it’s pretty much a worldwide phenomenon. A universal sharing of the human condition and widely accepted demonstration of empathy and caring.
Maybe it would be healthier if we showed up with bags of carrots and sliced apples. But let’s be honest, is there really anything that says “I care and I’m in this with you” the way that sugar and chocolate do?
To get very far beyond that you’d have to throw a cross on your back and say, “Hey, folks, I got this.”