Tag Archives: love my kids

Good Parents Sometimes Make Their Kids Miserable: A Case Study

A few years ago, my husband and I took a trip to the mountains of Colorado, up in the Winter Park area. It was an incredible trip, and one random thing that stuck with me was a cute little restaurant that included a variety of breakfast salads on their morning menu. As someone who enjoys eating healthy food and trying new things, I was in heaven!

Earlier this year, in the middle of my girls’ busy basketball season, it seemed viruses were out of control all around us. Tons of people we knew were heading to the hospital, urgent care, or staying home due to sickness, and we were constantly surrounded by crowds of people at basketball games. Two of my three kids had lingering colds, and I wanted to get them better before they went even further downhill.

I confess, breakfast is my least favorite meal to prepare because: 1) I’m not fond of mornings and 2) I’m not fond of traditional breakfast food…except bacon, but isn’t that a given? Anyway, I wanted to boost my kids’ nutritious food intake to get/keep them healthy, and it came to me—breakfast salads!

I stayed up late one night prepping vegetables, hard boiled eggs, and potatoes for the morning salad. I got up early to put the salads together. I knew my kids weren’t big fans of arugula, but also that it has great health benefits, so I gave them just a little, tossed in a homemade dressing to add pizzazz. I added the cooked eggs, potato slices, and vegetables, and then included bacon bits and a sprinkle of cheese to make the whole experience more palatable. I even prepared fresh watermelon as a side dish, because who wouldn’t be refreshed by watermelon in February?

The salads were complete and looked like something out of a magazine, if I may toot my own horn, so I called my husband and three kids to the breakfast table. The salads looked delicious to me, and I knew the nutrients were just what my family needed to start the day and boost their immune systems.

Let me just say that my husband and I have taught our children to be polite and respectful when it comes to food they’re served. They eat what they’re given and they don’t complain (well, rarely with their voices; body language sometimes gives them away). They know food is about nutrition and not just about taste, and we’ve been clear that we generally don’t care if they dislike something—they are to eat at least a few bites of everything they’re served anyway.

So when they sat down at the table and saw their breakfast, you could have heard an ant sneeze.

Silence.

My husband said grace, and they reluctantly picked up their forks and began picking at their salads. No comments, no questions—nothing. (To be fair, I did expect questions. I knew this wasn’t normal, lol.) Tears brewed in my youngest’s eyes, but didn’t fall. After a couple minutes I received the question that had been hovering in the air since we’d sat down. “Can I be done now?”

If I said yes, they wouldn’t get the health benefits I’d been so excited for them to receive. If I said yes, all they’d get is hungry in about twenty minutes. “Eat a few more bites, please,” was my response.

All the thoughtfulness I’d put into trying to keep them healthy (and happy—remember the cheese and bacon?) was completely lost. They simply didn’t like the taste of arugula no matter how much I dressed it up; no matter how many good things I gave them to go alongside it (remember the watermelon?).

All they could see was a big fat salad staring back at them first thing in the morning. How could their own mother dare serve them such a terrible breakfast and still claim to love them? They didn’t have to say the words. Their faces said it all.

Super. I love making my kids miserable. The thought passed through my head and stopped me in my tracks.

I wonder if God ever feels the same way. I wonder if God is ever sarcastic. I bet he’s felt this way a gazillion times as he tries to shower his kids with his loving care. But how often do we ignore the gifts he gives because our eyes are focused on the one thing we don’t like, even though HE knows that’s the one thing that’s ultimately good for us.

How often do we complain about that one thing in our lives and never once wonder if it’s there for our own good? How often do we assume God doesn’t know what he’s doing, when really he’s looking at the bigger picture and trying to care for us long term?

I don’t really love making my kids miserable. Actually, it grieves me when my kids are miserable, especially if it’s in my power to change. But there are some things I won’t allow in order to protect them, even if they don’t understand. Unlimited screen time? Nope. Inappropriate movies? No way. Disrespect? Not gonna fly.

Why? Because I love them. Because I want them to be wise, healthy, balanced adults someday, and I know they ultimately want that too.

Okay, okay, maybe I’ll refrain from breakfast salads in the future, but that doesn’t mean I’m taking salad off the menu at other meals. I love my family too much for that.

What “breakfast salad” is God serving you today? Is it possible the thing you’re so frustrated with was put there by God to protect you and help you live a healthy life?

Even when we don’t like the looks of it, God does what he needs to do to keep us healthy. Today, I’ll choose to thank God for the “breakfast salads” of life. Even if I’d prefer a donut.