October 26, 2012
If you’re a parent you’ve heard this before. If you’re a human being I’d venture to say you have said this before. It is even understandable in some instances. Liver – ‘nough said! But is it right? God created us each to be a unique being fashioned in His image. We each have likes and dislikes that are our own. Some people like liver. Personally, I am a texture girl. I therefore do not like raw tomatoes, melons of any kind, guacamole, liver, etc.; but, I love berries, peaches, and a good beef steak.
My children are certainly not exempt from food preferences. Some children are. I have a good friend whose children will eat anything you put in front of them. At least it seems that way. Though, if I ask her maybe she could give me a list of things they won’t eat. It seems every night when we sit down to dinner on of my children is wrinkling up their nose and saying yuk. And seeing my family turn their nose up at a meal that I just spent an hour preparing is very upsetting; and, I have to confess angers me. Not to mention now I have to clean up after the ungrateful little ones.
So what is a Mom to do?
I could do what my sister-in-law does and become a short order cook; making only what I know each child will eat.
Um … NO. I simply do not enjoy cooking that much.
I could demand that they try a bite of everything on the plate and then go and get them something else to eat; hoping that if they try what I made enough times they will learn to like it.
Wait, that sounds a little too much like option one. Soooo NO.
I could demand that they try a bite of everything on the plate with the promise that they could have a snack before bed to quiet their hungry stomachs.
To be honest, I’ve tried this one. I just ended up with children who took one bite of dinner and then asked to be excused no matter what I made.
I could quietly pull their plate away and excuse them from the table. When they ask for a snack later because they are starving, I could put the dinner plate back down.
I’ve done this too but couldn’t manage to bring myself to serve that plate for breakfast, lunch and dinner for days on end.
So I still ask myself “What’s a Mom to do?” The answer for us was in what we are trying to teach our children.
We want our children to have a grateful spirit in all matters. So we are careful to thank God for everything. From protecting us when I had a van full of children and was involved in a three car accident to having all green lights when we’re running late for Tae Kwon Do. We want our children to understand we serve a living God who cares for and is involved in His children’s lives.
We want our children to be humble. They are not the center of the universe. Not everything has to be about them. This is a hard one for small children who haven’t developed the ability to think beyond their own needs. It is a concept that must be nurtured. To excuse selfish, ego-centric tendencies in a child can only result in an insufferable adult. So we discuss the act of dying to self and being in service to someone else. We show them how to prefer others over themselves by being in service to others, both as husband and wife and as a friend.
And we want our children to be prepared to answer God’s calling (and He will call). Whether it is to lead a Bible study at the local church or travel to the far reaches of the world He will call. So we look for opportunities to serve.
So how does this relate to what’s for dinner?
1. We teach our children that without God’s care and provision we would be without food. To turn your nose up at something God has given you in a sin.
2. We teach our children that everyone has different tastes. Everyone in this family likes watermelon except Mommy. Sometimes Mommy will serve watermelon because I know my family loves it. Sometimes they have to eat stuffed peppers because Mommy likes that.
3. We teach our children that one day God may call them to be a missionary in a village where eating raw monkey brains in a delicacy. And to have any chance of them listening to what you have to say about the Gospel you certainly do not want to insult them by wrinkling up your nose and saying yuk when they honor you with their delicacy.
My husband often tells the children about the chicken soup he was served while on a missions trip to Africa several years ago that still had the head (eyes included) and the feet floating in the pot.
We are starting to see changes in our dinner ritual. Now I just have to figure out how to deal with “Have I eaten enough yet?”
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. - 1 Corinthians 10:31-33