Thursday, March 12, 2009

Teachable Moment

My latest "wild hair" actually had a really good result so I wanted to share with you other moms. I'm all for having those 'ah-ha' moments with my kids where you can just see the knowledge seeping in their little brains.

So last night, in honor of Compassion's Global Food Crisis Day, we did the following:

I made baked fish, rice, steamed cabbage, and spiced lentils. I was kind of going for an international theme.

- Addison got her normal plate of a spoonful of each food. Cause who really wants to make a toddler mad on purpose!!
- Braeden got a small spoonful of beans and rice only.
- Tony and I got HUGE platefuls of everything, with 2 pieces of fish each.
- Seth got an empty plate, poor Seth!!

The kids had been complaining for about an hour that they were hungry but I just kept putting them off, not wanting snacks to ruin their dinner experience... So we sit down, join hands and pray (with Tony thanking God for our food and how he takes care of all our needs. And to help us to understand how blessed we are.)

Immediately Seth gets wide eyes and asks, "where's mine?" Me - "well, I'm sorry, but you don't get to have anything tonight." "So I don't have to eat?? Yeah! I'm going to get a cupcake!" Me - "No, no cupcakes either. I'm sorry, you're going to have to go to bed hungry tonight. That's all the food we had for dinner, we just didn't have any for you."

At which time Braeden is piping up, "I didn't get any fish. Can I have some fish?" (My weird child loves fish AND spinach,.. go figure.) "No, sorry bud, Addison, Daddy, and I are the only ones who can have fish."

Addison is just chowing down like she hasn't eaten in days!! Just shoveling it in while the boys look at me with questioning eyes. I really wish I had video of it because she couldn't have shoveled any faster. And lately she has been pretty picky. I was floored she ate the fish and the lentils without whining "I don't liiiiiiike this." Way to make my point little one!

I go on to explain that today is Global Food Crisis Day. And I wanted them to think about God and his children in the rest of the world. That Addison has just enough food to fill her up. Braeden has very basic food, just enough so he wont go hungry, like many children in the world who don't get to have nice foods like hamburger, steak, or chicken every night. And Seth, poor Seth... He doesn't have anything to eat for supper and will have to go to bed very hungry, like many other children this very night. Does that seem fair?

"Mommy and Daddy have sooooooo much. We live in America and God has blessed us with so much food and the money to buy that food. We really, have too much to eat. So what do you think God would want us to do with all this extra?? "

(Now here was where the lesson kind of fell apart a little... The boys decided that they should just come take our food, or steal it. O.k., so save the teachable moment on stealing til another day....)

Bringing them back - "Do you think that God may have given us so much so that we might share it with you? Maybe that is the reason God blessed us in America so much. So that we would share it with his other children that don't have enough." So we feed the boys off of our 'bounty' and lesson is learned. I hope.

Here's the thing - since coming back from my trip to Ethiopia - I have struggled with America a bit. And from what I hear from others who have done missions, it is something that most have to deal with when they come back from seeing the rest of the world. The week after, you feel like you are completely alone in your thoughts and why is it that no one understands what you do?? How can we be so blind and not see? Why is it that the American mind-set is that, "I made this money... I deserve to have this.... or this..... or this..... It never ends, this list of our "needs"

We have SOOOO much. To look in my closet and see my 20 pairs of shoes made me roll my eyes. To look in my children's closet and see 25 long sleeve shirts and about 20 short sleeves each, just made me sad. BUT.. as the head of Compassion's Ethiopia office had told our group, we were not meant to come and see to feel guilty about what we have. God gave us those as gifts. Instead, what we have, we need to remember is a gift and realize that He did not mean for those gifts to line our pockets and cupboards alone. So instead of feeling guilty or feeling sad when looking at what I have, it is my responsibility to not only share with others, but to teach my children to share. And to teach them that we don't have to eat steak every night, or have the newest and latest, or the best and the most. And if I do my job as a mother to help them learn those lessons through little, teachable moments while they are young - then I know my Heavenly Father, the one who gives me every blessing, will be smiling at me and know He has taught me through my very own teachable moment.

** After dinner, as we were cleaning up, my great-sport-husband who had gone along with my madness, whispers - "yeah, those lentils... don't let 'em find their way into this house again..."


Katie said...

What a great way to make this personal for your kids! And I love your husband's comment on the lentils :) Thankfully Mark eats just about everything and likes it, especialy since I love lentils!

Prayig that you continue to adjust ok to the States

Beth said...

We just finished up our Missions Conference and the basic theme was that we should ask God to bless us, SO THAT WE MAY BLESS OTHERS. We are blessed in this country, but forget to bless others. I know we have an abundance, and in turn we should be quick to give out of our abundance.

Oh, and Isaac also loves fish and spinach, and will often times ask for salad to eat for lunch. :-) Funny boy.

Abbie H. said...

WOW! What a great way to explain it all to them! Sounds like it really spoke a good message.

I'm going to assume that you shared your plate with them? haha!

I think even though I haven't been there, I went through a bit of what you described. Disgust mainly. I'm sure not to the extent of what you have actually being there and seeing their faces.

I'm praying for you girl! Not to forget but to come to a place of peace about it, but still keep the urge of needing to do something and spreading the word of the need.