Just Eat It

lunchWhen I was in school, my mother packed my lunch each day. We didn’t have hot lunch but once a month, so all the kids brown bagged it. Some days, everything she sent was what I liked. Other days, not so much. But back then, with two recesses a day out in the fresh air and no snack like they have in many classes now mid-day, by the time lunch rolled around, I was starving. By 10:30 I was starving, for that matter! So whatever Mom sent, I ate it, like it or not.

Twice recently, I caught our six-year-old complaining about something she didn’t like to eat. “I only have ketchup on this,” she said the other night. “I don’t like mustard.”Too late, there was mustard already on the hamburger.

“Eat it anyway. Life doesn’t revolve around our likes and dislikes, ” I said.

She ate it and never said another word. When we were kids, it really was different.  Times were such that our delicate little tastes weren’t catered to. Mom put dinner on, and we ate it.  Less of things we didn’t like, second helpings of what we did like. She didn’t serve up individual meals because this one doesn’t care for that shape of pasta, or this one won’t eat that kind of vegetable.

Much has been written about entitled Millennials, the cry bullies in that generation who are turning campuses into hell with their endless demands for safe spaces, speech censorship, etc. Raising people like this starts early — by catering to a toddler who refuses to drink out of this cup or demands a certain cereal bowl or he won’t eat breakfast.  Go ahead, meet your child’s every demand, but you’re making a rod for your own back and the rest of society as well.

Yesterday, Emily complained mildly  that she had been hoping for this and not that for breakfast “Eat this, and thank God for it,” I said rather abruptly.   She did. Her wishes don’t rule our home, and she knows it. It’s not that her feelings don’t come into consideration – it’s that we have the final say as parents, and whining about what you didn’t get to eat is a terrible way to start out life. The headlines have ample evidence of how that turns out.

On a separate but related note, I read yesterday that the average American prom costs $1000 dollars per student,  with kids engaging in ever more exotic “promposals” to ask a girl out. Some of these “promposals” cost hundreds of dollars in themselves, and the more over the top, the more attention you get on Instagram.  The obscenity of this, in the face of the staggering costs of higher education (read debt) can’t be adequately expressed in writing. The schools enable all of this. No, they encourage it.

Rather than parents and schools proactively reversing the trend by dialing back the scale of the prom event and making it a fun time all can participate in, the entitled kids are driving the party bus, and it is completely out of control. Those girls who aren’t asked out, or who don’t have  money for limo rides, after parties, formal dresses, shoes, accessories and getting hair, nails and make-up done for the “red carpet??  Well, kids you’re out of luck. You have a big L for loser on your back. And we wonder why we have depression and suicide on the rise in schools? Nothing is as it should be, that’s why.

We can only commit to teaching our children better in our own homes.  We are not ultimately responsible for the choices our kids make as adults, but we are responsible to do our part to raise grounded, grateful and common sense people. Sometimes that means telling them, “Just eat it.”

9 thoughts on “Just Eat It

  1. biggardenblog says:

    Box of chocolates, Variety tin of biscuits (cookies, if you prefer), bowl of mixed fruit? I never pick and choose, I just take what comes nearest to hand. We don’t deserve more or better in life unless we make the most of what we already have right before us. The less fussy we are as eaters, the more choices we make for ourselves.

  2. Christine says:

    Your points are very well stated. I agree that the attitude of entitlement is running rampant in our society. Sadly, it seems to be affecting all ages, not just the young people. Pausing throughout my busy day and offering up thankfulness to God for all I have is certainly helpful to bringing forward a mindset of gratitude for me.

  3. Ingrid says:

    Yes! And you cheat yourself out of appreciating so many different flavors when you set up rigid walls. I like all kinds of ethnic food, and especially anything hot and spicy. My dad one time put a spoonful of hot mustard on my food at a Chinese restaurant. I had never had it and thought I would die. I was hooked, however, and have it to this day on Chinese food. Tom can’t believe the things I like, (raw serrano peppers in scrambled eggs used to be a great breakfast dish (!)), but I always feel sorry for his narrow tastes, haha! In 21 years of marriage, I still haven’t convinced him to try new and exciting things, but then, his other excellent traits always make up for it. 😉

  4. Beverley says:

    Well stated, Ingrid.
    We have become a very ‘entitled’ society; a throw-away society. We take so much for granted and I’m talking to myself as I write this.

  5. Lisa V says:

    Great post! My friend and I have this conversation often. Back in our day, you just did things because you were supposed to. “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” used to be the expression my son’s preschool teacher used to use (and that was only 6 years ago). I STILL use it today when I hear too much complaining from my kids.

  6. Ron says:

    Love this post! Reminds me of when I was a kid and every week my parents made liver and onions. Words fail me to describe how awful that tasted to me. So much so that I refused to eat it. Mom had the answer for that too: then you can eat the mashed potatoes and gravy side dishes because I am not cooking something special just for you. Near as I can tell,I turned out somewhat normal after being so badly abused.
    To your main point about entitlement,it is swallowing this country up with no end in sight,and it seems that society is willing to look the other way.

  7. Margaret L. Been says:

    We have a funny family story about school lunches. I always packed a good sandwich, a piece of fruit, and 2 homemade cookies. One of our daughters used to trade her homemade cookies for a Hostess Twinkie.

    Now this daughter has 11 grandchildren, and she is the all-time champion cookie baker in our tribe. I guess she got the SILLY stuff out of her system at an early age. 🙂

  8. Ingrid says:

    That is funny, Margaret! I can so identify. My mother never bought things like Twinkies or Hostess Cupcakes, Doritos, etc. She sent homemade cupcakes (the frosting stuck to the cling wrap) and healthy things like carrot sticks, apples and so forth. But her tuna salad, made with finely chopped celery and onion and Miracle Whip instead of mayo, were so good on fresh wheat bread, that I had her make an extra half sandwich each day. Some days I ate it, other days I traded it for Twinkies and Doritos (the good stuff, I thought) from the other kids who LOVED her tuna. Believe it or not, they were that good! Come to think of it, I wonder what Emmy does with her healthy lunch items? Hmmmmm.

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