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Monthly school luncheons to foster family relations

Date Posted: 2008-06-13

In today’s fast-paced society, children and parents often do not find or make time to talk and spend time together.

Nanjo City thinks it can make a difference in bridging those gaps between parents and kids, and is orchestrating a program to bring them together. The city is backing the Board of Education’s “My Luncheon Day”, which is set to begin in September. All of the Nanjo City elementary and junior high schools, a total of 13 schools, will participate in the program.

The chairman of the city’s board of education, Chouyu Takamine, says “We want to have children and parents together, going shopping, making food together, and feeling each other’s love.” To that end, the monthly luncheon, to be held on the first Monday of each month, will have children bringing their own lunches to school. The goal, says Takamine, is to have the kids and parents making the lunches together, something that will encourage them to go shopping together to select the ingredients.

Takamine says relationships between parents and their children are often so far apart that they’re “no good. They don’t talk to each other and they don’t have time together.” Takamine thinks the school luncheon program will encourage better relationships as “they are tighter and talk to each other more.” The concept of shopping together will be educational for children as well, as they learn firsthand about “the costs of food and love, too.”

Some parents are skeptical. “What about parents who have no time to make lunches with their children?” asks one. “Should we give them money and ask them to buy bento?” A board of education member muses “we’re still working out the details, but let’s start doing it.”

Nanjo City thinks the idea is great, not only because of the relationships benefit, but also because it will save the city millions in luncheon costs. It predicts the once a month program will save ¥7 million during the school year, money now coming from peoples’ taxes. A school official says 8.2% of students don’t pay for luncheons, with those unpaid lunches costing Nanjo City ¥15 million per school year. “If it saves costs, it will help the city,” notes an education board member.

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