About Me

My photo
Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Providing More Than the Basics

If you have kids, and I do, you likely have frustrations with the things they'll eat or not eat, and I do.  I have days where I'm fine with them not eating what I cook.  That's fine with a hand on the hip, "whatever - go ahead and be hungry, I don't care" attitude.  Or fine with my hands in the air, throwing dishes into the sink a little too roughly, grumbling load enough that I know they'll feel bad, "Why would you like anything that's healthy for you?  Why do I try?  I should just feed you crap.  You like crap..."  Yup, some days I'm fine with them not eating. 

Other days I'm less-than-fine.  I'll break down in tears at the dinner table because Gracie won't eat her veggies and Tyler won't eat anything at all. 

Does anything change whether I'm 'fine' or admittedly not so much?  No.  They still only eat some of what I cook.  In other areas of my life I've been able to let go of the stresses that I have no control over.  It's time to do that here too.

I went to an incredibly wonderful workshop this weekend where Sarah Fragoso, the mama of three and author of Everyday Paleo, spoke with us about a lot of things!  One of the many things I took from that four hours was it doesn't matter what your kids eat as long as you only offer foods that fuel their body.  And why doesn't it matter?  The answer is two-fold:
  1. Because whatever they do eat will give them what they need and not irritate their guts or be a filler with no value.
  2. More importantly, on the list of things kids need from their parents, food isn't really among the top priorities.
I've tried to tell myself the first point several times.  It had helped, but not as much as hearing the second point did.  And that second point may sound a bit out of the box to some of you.  But really, honestly, it's so energizing to get out of the box and stretch.  You should try it!

Sarah's point was not that we don't need to provide out kids with food, water, and shelter, but that it's not the most important thing if we want children that are healthy emotionally and thriving!  And that's what I want!  I don't want them to battle with weight issues because I don't want them to care about that number, but just to feel great and be healthy.  I want them to know they're loved regardless of what happens at dinner. 

What things are higher on the lists of kids' needs, above asparagus? 
  • love, security, and stability
  • positive attention
  • the space to be who they are and express their individual selves
  • real, honest recognition (not just "good job" or "I'm proud of you," but actual feedback about why)
  • boundaries and routine
  • new experiences
Then "the big 3" of food, water, and shelter.  And if I think really hard back to when I first learned that those are the three things a person needs - they are the three things a person needs to survive.  And I want my children's lives to be so much richer than just getting by.  I want them to love life openly and to experience the world with joy!

So, starting today (everything successful starts on a Monday, right?) I'll be less worried about what they eat.  I'll put more thought and energy into each of them and giving them the things they need to really live fully. 

And, by the way, I can't help but notice how swimmingly this fits into my goal of being present and intentional this year.  Isn't it amazing how God works?  Obviously this is a message I was ready to hear.  Are you?


jkarches said...

I have tried (fought) with Owen for 6 years to get him to eat Asparagus. Two nights ago I grilled it with Italian ham and Olive oil. By chance he volunteered to wrap the ham around the asparagus then brush on the olive oil. I had bought enough for Tim, knowing we would be the only ones to eat it and myself. Needless to say, because Owen made it he ate almost all of it and wants it again this week. I have come to the conclusion that they will not starve, if they are really hungry, they will eat.

Domestic Diva said...

What a great insight Annie. I can imagine it must be hard when your kids don't eat your cooking, or are very picky. My son is still in the phase where I can pretend the food is a choo choo train and he happily opens his mouth wide! I hope you remember too that you are teaching your children by example what it is to value health, and that you know what you eat directly effects how you feel, how you think and your energy level. This is not escaping them, even if the desire to eat is! Keep up the good work, you inspire me!