It's my life and I love it...most of the time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Talents of a Parent: Things I Have Learned Part I

There are many talents that God provides us with as parents. Are we perfect - umm no! But if you are like me, you try your best. While I come by some things naturally, I have never been afraid to try new things along the way. At times this has been interesting, to say the least, especially when cooking!

One gift I have is being able to organize. This should not be confused with having a perfect, orderly house (just ask my mom, better yet; don't!). Being organized can help life run smoother. The biggest thing I have always tried to do is plan meals. When it was just my husband and I, I would prepare a months worth of menus at once and do the majority of the grocery shopping in one trip. Of course I had to go back for milk and fresh produce. By the time we had five children, I had switched to weekly menus and stopping for milk during the week again. When I have a menu posted on the refrigerator, it makes it easy to pull out the meat I need and prepare the evening meal. I do not have to spend precious time determining what to fix tonight.

As my family has grown, I am now trying to pass this skill on to my children. The hardest part of this task is being respectful that there is more then one way to do things, and this is no exception. Especially when it comes to cooking the actual meal. That is not to say that some things can be compromised, such as the need for a vegetable with every meal.

This past spring I began transitioning my children that still live at home to the responsibility of planning the meals, doing the grocery shopping, and preparing the meal. They are 15, 17, 18, and 19. They all participate equally. While activities do interfere occasionally, we are flexible and Monday nights meal may have to be moved to Thursday. And I take care of one meal a week. My husband has even began chipping in some.

We have had some growing pains, but there has been definite progression. The first week, I planned the menu and the grocery list. They did the shopping. Side note: This is beneficial in more then one way. We have saved money. They don't stray from the list. I definitely do.

I built up to them planning the menu as well. Not realizing I needed to give some more guidance on this we had an interesting week. Nachos one night - not even ground beef, just chips and cheese. That was it. You get the idea. I turned this into a teachable moment, and we had a lesson on what should be included in a meal, such as vegetables.

By the end of school, they were doing quite well. With summer, I have taken over more of the planning and cooking. But I will soon be returning to work, and we will jump right back in. This is especially helpful on Monday nights when I have class.

The best part of this process has been watching the kids discover how good they are at this. Kenny makes a fantastic homemade pizza. Ashley makes incredible potatoes. Jessica whips up some mean eggs. And Cameron makes the best, melt-in-your mouth chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. What talented children I have!

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