Nothing Says Love Like Diabetes and Tooth Decay

minimalist cookie

Sugar.  The kids at BSF loaded up on it last night.  It was our last class before Christmas break and – in violation of the guidelines – a couple of the kids brought treats to share.

Under the table.


We were in a circle of chairs and in the center was a small table. One kid opened 2 boxes of Starburst candy canes and placed them under the table. Another brought a package of cookies and placed it under the table.  Candy canes and oreos slid back and forth under the table and across the floor from student to student.

“Sugar is the devil,” I kinda’ wanted to say.

But who wants to be the killjoy?

The church I used to attend throws a party for underprivileged children at every holiday.  And at every party they show God’s love by loading the kids up with sugar.  Trunk loads of sugar at Halloween, plates piled high with sugar cookies and candy at Christmas. Baskets brimming with chocolate bunnies and jellybeans at Easter.

They show God’s love by putting the children who are the least likely to be able to afford diabetic care at risk for diabetes; they put the children who are least likely to be able to afford dental care at risk for tooth decay.

I shake my head and suggest we find healthier ways to show God’s love.

“Oh just let the kids have fun,” I’m told.

Yes, I don’t bother to say, let’s let them have fun – let’s play FUN exercise-getting games with them, let’s give them fun GIFTS, and a few cookies.

Let’s stop reaching out to children with cheap and easy.

Because God isn’t.


8 thoughts on “Nothing Says Love Like Diabetes and Tooth Decay

  1. Put yourself in their shoes: it’s a tough Christmas, your parents haven’t even bothered putting up a Christmas tree because it’ll raise false hopes that they’ll be able to put gifts under it. That’s why there aren’t any decorations or lights up either. There’s no talk about what you want for Christmas because you already know what you’ll be getting: clothes – two shirts and a pack of socks (they were on sale.) You’ve already heard your parents quietly whisper about ‘the dinner situation’ there’s definitely not going to be a glorious feast. The party the church throws though, is a moment to forget all of that. You get to eat all sorts of great things that you just don’t get access to at home where you wouldn’t dream of wasting money on such treats. You’re just like everyone else for a moment and that’s what makes Christmas better.
    I’ve had all sorts of Christmasses, some on the road, some tough, some were almost perfect – so I know how it feels. When it’s a tough Christmas, the winter blues just seem to weigh you down everywhere. The holiday movies don’t really help matters because they have a sort of Norman Rockwell quality to them and real life seems to have a lot of missing pieces – the only difference is that the Grinch didn’t take it all away – it’s stuff that wasn’t there in the first place. Being able to forget about it is a blessing that’s worth a little tooth decay and diabetes (which are inevitable no matter how much or little sugar one ingests.)


    • Hi Jamie,

      Though I can never truly put myself in their shoes, as a former social worker I have tried to help them into shoes that fit a little easier.

      “You’ve already heard your parents quietly whisper about ‘the dinner situation’ there’s definitely not going to be a glorious feast.”

      Exactly! That is why I am advocating for serving a nutritious, delicious feast rather than merely filling the banquet tables with nothing but platter after platter of cookies and candy.

      With the population our church was serving, the lack of a Christmas tree was due less to a lack of money (there is always money for another fix) than to a lack of motivation. Being strung out will do that to you. Which is why actually playing with the kids – giving them sorely needed attention – would be such a great gift.

      So that’s why I still say, skip the cheap candy, play with them and send them home with a good, hot meal in their bellies and gifts to open on Christmas.

      BTW: I hope diabetes isn’t inevitable for you. It certainly isn’t inevitable for me. My paternal grandma lived to 101 and 10/12ths, and my maternal grandma lived to 98. Neither of them had diabetes. But then, they both ate right and were physically fit. My 85 year old mom doesn’t have diabetes either, but she’s never had a sweet tooth.

      Anyway, even though you kinda’ had to miss my point in order to do so, I’m glad I gave you an opportunity to share your story.

      Merry Christmas!


      • I have an aunt who has always lived a sugar-free existence and she is now pre-diabetic and diabetes took my grandfather; it seems like it’s in the genetics and diabetes runs in both sides of my family. There’s really no way to run from genetics, so I’m not going to pretend for every doughnut I don’t eat on earth I’ll get ten in heaven. I’m just going to enjoy eating what foods I can while I can and when I can’t eat them, I’ll miss them a lot.


  2. As one who is going to prevail over Type II Diabetes, I too deplore the excess of candy and other sugary sweets. I remember the Christmas treats we were given when I was a little kid. Brown paper bags that contained nuts, an orange, an apple, and a small amount of ribbon candy. Great stuff.

    Children of the ’50’s were taught to think of sugar as a healthy food. It is neither healthy nor a food, and has contributed to the explosion of Type II in my generation. The medical industry, of course, profits from our sugar addiction, but they do express concern over the rising rate of Type II onset in children. Seems to me we could do better. Lots better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Every Christmas morning there was an orange in the toe of my stocking and there was always a big bowl of nuts and a nutcracker out at Christmas time. We could have as many as we wanted. Next to it was a smaller dish with ribbons and those filled candies that looked like raspberries. We had to ask before having those. It WAS great stuff and we could do lots better.

      Liked by 1 person

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