Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve


There’s a truth that is never clear in the mind of a child: everything a parent does is for a reason. They rarely can see the bigger picture, so an individual request (command?) is easily resisted. They miss the love that is behind the guidance laid out by their parents.

I love my children and want what’s best for them. Patience is not a virtue that I have in great supply, but on some subjects, I am quite patient. When my patience expires, it’s time to change my strategy. Occasionally, that strategy is a well-placed bribe.

As the eldest of four children, my son hasn’t quite grasped his standing among his siblings. If he understood just how much his younger sisters follow his example and leadership, he might be tempted to use it for his personal gain. While it’s amusing to observe, it can cut both ways.

Like many kids, he prefers not to try new foods. He has his core rotation and never ventures far from it. Unbeknownst to him, the moment he refuses food, his sisters follow suit. Talk about frustrating.

No parent wants to spoil their children, but after all the work that goes into planning, shopping for, and preparing a dinner, it can be a little much. We’ve tried strategy after strategy for years, and it was time for a change. Alison and I tried to bribe them with rewards for clean plate awards. To our great delight, it worked!

My middle daughter declared me the “greatest chef ever,” and now they ask me for the previous night’s dinner at lunch. Frittatas, chicken cordon blue, they love it all!

Sadly, it didn’t stick. The kids collected their prizes, and we’re back to the trenches. I don’t think that we failed, I think it’s simply another bump in the road. Despite their refusal to try anything new as of late, we did get them to try several new dishes. I’m also happy when they ask for me to make some of those favorites again.

I think that children should do the right thing because it’s what’s asked of them. But now and then, it’s okay to hold out a carrot and see what happens.