It is a battle, to be sure. The colors of candy and the sweetness of snacks call to our kids day and night. Taste buds engaged, they beg for these items. As parents, we draw a line and stand as firm as we can against the constant intake of chemically enhanced foods. But we find ourselves at odds with a world that offers fast food and fat-laden treats for cheap on every corner. What are we to do?
We know our children need a variety of fruits and vegetables and use these items as ammunition in the power struggle in which we find ourselves embroiled. We say no to the candy and yes to the carrots. They say no to the carrots and yes to the cookies. We say no to the soda and yes to the salad. They say no to the salad and yes to the Sweet-Tarts. On and on we go!
What would happen if we gave up the fight?
A while ago, weary of fighting, I made a plan to permanently end this war. Here are the ideas we tried:
Somewhere inside our children is a desire to connect with creation. We may have to look for it. We may have to help them find it. But it is there. We were created by the same God who dreamed up spaghetti squash and cucumbers and watermelon and gourds. Our bodies are healthier when we rely upon food in a natural state because these are the very foods we were created to eat. It was a gift given to Adam and Eve and that gift continues today.
We need to find simple ways to end the fight, and instead engage our children in appreciating these wonders of creation. Once they connect to the goodness of it all, the artificial flavors and colors will begin to lose their sheen. And then the sweets and chips will become treats for an occasional indulgence instead of everyday staples.
In our home, we have raised the white flag. Instead of drawing battle lines over healthy choices, we sit side by side in the garden and plant things we cannot wait to eat. We peruse farmers’ markets together, each choosing something we will enjoy together. And we see anew the wonder of God’s blessings in bright red fruit and sweet clusters of juicy grapes and long, crisp beans to enjoy.
We remember that it is good just as God designed it.
Rev. Dr. Rob Toornstra
Rev. Deb Koster