Every parent has days in which they want to turn in their Parent Button. Were you there yesterday? Are you there today? Trust me, a whole room full of women just nodded their heads with you. Parenting isn’t easy, but it is a blessed opportunity to teach. Really, I think teaching is the primary responsibility of every mom and dad. You find yourself as the mom doing hundreds of other things like playing, reading, fixing meals, breaking up sibling quarrels, bandaging hurts, shopping, preparing them for school, picking up after everyone, rocking to sleep, giving baths, and on and on, but we must realize that with each one of those responsibilities, teaching is at the very core of every one of them.
When you’re fixing a meal, you can bring your children in and let them assist you. Yes, it will take you twice as long and make three times the mess, but it’s a great teaching time! The little ones can help set the table, wash fruits and vegetables or help roll out dough. Older ones can learn to use a vegetable peeler, can mix ingredients and do some simple baking. Pre-teens can learn to take on a whole meal themselves. Each one can also learn to help in the clean up, progressing as they age. By the time a child leaves home they should be able to put a meal together by themselves from beginning to end because of what you have taught them in the kitchen. I’m not just suggesting that they take your place in the kitchen – have them in there with you. What sweet times you can have as you work together – talking to them and listening to them while you work. What better way to apply Deuteronomy 6:8 than while working in the kitchen?
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
I heard a radio broadcast recently where a woman said that when she got married at 19, she had no idea of what a wife was supposed to do. She and her husband got married, had a brief honeymoon, then he had to get back to work. He left her at home to head to his job. She sat on the floor of their apartment, surrounded by boxes of their new wedding items, and played Solitaire all day until her husband got home. He walked in, looked at all the boxes, still packed, and asked, “What’s for dinner?” “I don’t know” she answered. “What’s for dinner?” He didn’t think she was funny, and she didn’t like that he came home with expectations! She said she had no clue what to do, now that she was married. Evidently she had always been used to her mom taking care of everything and she’d never learned how to be a homemaker. Mealtime is a huge teaching opportunity for us, moms!
What can you do today to begin the training in just this one area in your children’s lives? Don’t let them grow up being lazy and dependent on others. Teach them today that work to be done – even in the kitchen – is good work, profitable work and must be shared by everyone. This isn’t just for girls…guys will benefit from learning these tools too! Your child’s spouse will thank you some day!
Here are some suggestions for things to teach in the kitchen:
- Set the table – Make a paper place mat and draw where the plate, glass and silverware to. The little ones can use the drawings as a guide while they learn.
- Make a salad
- Empty the silverware from the dishwasher – Start little ones emptying the silverware
- Help gather ingredients from the pantry or refrigerator
- Clear and clean the table
- Assist with menu planning
- Make toast or waffles in the toaster
- Make lunch
Do you have other suggestions? Tomorrow we’ll talk about another area of training – training in discipline.