Friday, October 12, 2007

Hospitality Hero and Food Rants

I'm kind of going backwards here but what the heck. I'm inspired and feeling a rant coming on...
As a general rule, families of nine don't typically get many dinner invitations. My children are not bad dinner guests at all, but kids in this country just have a really bad reputation right now. My kids eat everything, are thankful for whatever they get, and don't require short order cooking. (BTW parents, this is accomplished by simply...not short order cooking for them.)

This however, seems not to be the norm in America these days (anyone see the preview of Seinfeld's wife on Oprah talking about her new big ingenius way to "sneak" healthy foods into kids' food?) Geeez. And we wonder why people are afraid to have kids! I didn't see it, but my Mom gave me the runny run-down. She got a kick out of it, said she was thinking of my kids while she watched it and how never a meal -vegetables included- goes by without them saying one of the following: "Mom (or Gramma) this is dulicious! Thankyou so much!" or "This is the bestist meal ever!" or frequently "Can I have this for my birthday meal?"

I'm not bragging here and I don't consider myself an above average cook. I'm saying the problem isn't the food, it's control issues, lack of obedience and character in the children. My little ones may occasionally balk at a particular food and I don't force them to eat it. But I don't give them anything else either. I save it in the fridge for when they decide to eat it, or they wait until the next family meal. They don't sit there fussing and begging but quietly trying little tastes. This is how a 2 year old learns that good food is a blessing and not a weapon to be wielded in his quest to achieve total control and become world dictator.

Kids need strong boundaries to know their parents are in control, in order to trust them. When a child sees their parent consistently carrying out what they know is good for them, they feel safe in this great big uncertain world--including the dinner table. When he sees Mommy having trouble controlling little him, then he may feel insecure and untrusting in general. Trying new foods doesn't come natural to most kids and is fundamentally a fear issue. When they trust that their parents know and do what is good for them, they will be willing to try. Don't confuse "good for them" with making them "feel good".

A whole different issue all together is when a kid has made up his mind not to eat the healthy stuff. By sneaking goodness into their food without them knowing it, the parent feels they've won a little battle, but is sadly losing the war. This is a control issue, not a food issue. Mommas, if you're struggling with this, tackle the obedience issue head on and save yourself the trouble of washing the cuisinart every day for the next 18 years. A family who is "training up their children in the ways they should go" will see it naturally flow out into mealtime and will reap willing, joyful, thankful eaters.

Okay so back to my point (but boy do I feel good after a little ranting! haaa) So large families don't get many dinner invites, understandably because the thought of figuring out what kids will eat, finding sippy cups and chairs for a bazillion little buns, among other things, is a little intimidating for most--not to mention the akward moment when you have to ask their parents for the damage deposit... ha.

So I was very impressed this Sunday when we received a dinner invite from a sweet single guy from our church. He also invited another couple and their little 1 year old. What a breath of fresh air. Dave didn't let all those common hospitality hindrances keep him from blessing two families very much. Yesterday after a busy day of homeschooling, I got the kids in the car and instead of cooking, enjoyed Dave's tacos! These are such great pictures of Dave because it captures him -- Always smiling, always talking, and always helping out. Thankyou Dave! I think you're a keeper!

The First Russians ~ For history we're reading about the first Russians now and Grandma joined us for some Crayola therapy coloring Ivan the Great and Ivan the Terrible. Aren't they sweet?????Speaking of Picky Eaters... What? You don't want to eat blood red beet soup? :) In keeping with our Russian theme, for lunch I made the Borscht & Bread recipe from our Story of the World activity book. It really was delicious for Mommy, Daddy, and Gramma who all love beets, parsley and dill. But Essie, Hannah, Silas and Gemma had a hard time with the looks and the taste of it. Gemma ate most of hers, Silas ate all of his, (and made the most delightful mess), and Essie polished off her dollup of sour cream. I watched "Hannah the gracious" in my usual amazement. I could tell she had a particular dislike to the beets and yet thankfully ate her Borscht commenting optimistically that "maybe I'll like beets when I'm a grown up?" There was no fussing and complaining, plenty of joy and thankfulness. While finishing up lunch, these two rascals ran up saying "We got into the food Mom!" Hence: the chubby cheeks.I love the profiles here. Poor Essie's got her momma's chin. Never a dull moment.


jana said...

oops! I wrote a comment on the post below this one, thinking I was commenting here! you know and you can just go read that one! :):):)

God bless you!

Bobbie-Jo said...

You have precious children! Great pictures!

I really enjoyed the music, too.