Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Problem-solving and the Universe

Problem solved : No plates, no worries! The kid wrapped a piece of fruit pie in pita.

Above all I want my kids to be problem-solvers – that’s one of those life skills that never become antiquated, and, well, encompasses just about everything. Asking parents if they want their kids to be problem-solvers is like asking a person if they enjoy good food without adding any qualifiers.

Late to the party, I’m just now reading “Free Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry” by Lenore Skenazy. Although not completely finished yet, the thought rings true that modern communications highlight dangers that are just not relevant to our lives.

Generally most agree that at some point parents must let go and allow their kids to do “stuff” that maybe we wouldn’t do now only because we’re middle-aged and wearing a sweater (it was cool out!). The issue then becomes where and when are the first glimpses of freedom allowed.

One place I want to let the kids to roam free is the potluck dinner. Generally we eat healthful food, which translates to excessive amounts of vegetables, in the eyes of the kids. So when given this freedom to eat from a table with many different types of dishes, what exactly do they eat?

A few bites of chicken, a square of cheese, and three helpings of dessert with random cookies thrown in.

It’s a given my kids will grow up having food issues of some variety. My wife has put post-it notes on the refrigerator and dining table with different messages, such as “Eat Mindfully.” Although intended for herself, our MO as a family is that we’re more than a little whack about what we eat. Also, living where we do, Collin the Chicken, still reverberates as an accurate reflection of our values.

The ideal outcome would be to raise kids with similarly inconsistent and convoluted views on food as we have. The probable outcome will be for the kids to be militant trans-fat-smearing, soda-guzzling, Dorito poppers, or raw veganers living in a yurt in Roseburg.

But then again, a yurt could be really cool and who doesn’t like Doritos?

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