Shaping Humans Through Meals

If someone had said to a 16 year old me that at some point in my life I would enjoy cooking, I would have found it extremely amusing. I still don’t like the everyday cooking. The kind of cooking where I’m trying to get everything done before the kids get home. I know that no matter what I make the kids are going to say I didn’t want this I wanted the other thing that you didn’t make. I have however, started to enjoy making food for our friends, and believe it or not, for our kids’ friends. My boys get so excited. Every time I tell them I’ve invited your friends; the first thing they do is give me the menu.

Now they know how to make a menu: appetizer, two chicken dishes “don’t forget a beef dish, also mama you make really good butter rice.” I kid you not, these are the kinds of conversations we have when deciding a menu.

I want them to feel involved. I want them to feel like they are the hosts. After all, that is why I have started enjoying cooking now. What is the difference between the 16 year old me and the 40 year old me? If anything I’m more tired and I have way more on my to do list. It would be so much easier to just get everything catered. No one minds or cares.

I’ve heard people say, gosh I’m tired even before the guests arrive. I’m usually not though. I’m looking forward to my guests. I’m excited. I’m tired, but I’m choosing to do all this. Why? I want to host. This “want” gives me energy. I want my kids to feel it too. The fun of hosting shouldn’t start when the guest get here it should start way before.

For this reason I let my kids pick out what they want to wear. Looking nice for your friends is part of being a good host. When people enter your home and you look unruly it makes them feel a bit guilty just because they had you so tired and busy that you didn’t get time to fix yourself up. Not full on formal attire but just presentable. Something that says, “I’m happy to see you so I put on something nice but I’m also kind of tired, no formalities between us, right? I’m just being me? Let’s just chill, and have some fun.” I’m sure you can just find something laying around in your closet that says ALL that.

Then we keep some toys and games out that they can play with the friends. I ask them what their friends like. A lot of them I lock up, because let’s be real. Who are we kidding I ain’t cleaning up unnecessary messes. I love all those kids but again, who are we kidding with those crazy messes.

While we do all this we talk about the friends, their siblings, and other stuff. Believe it or not my kids open up to me during this process. They tell me so much about themselves, and their friends. I get to know them better. It helps me shape their social life. I feel as though this is key in turning them into decent people. Everything else can wait or take its time. Becoming, kind, decent humans who care about others is a process that needs to start as soon as possible. This is something we can’t skimp out on.

I need my kids to understand that others are important. They matter. People matter. This is all because essentially my kids matter to me.

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