Friday, October 1, 2010

WWYD?

I was planning to do the long-awaited (awaited by me and my dad, at least) Retirement Reception Post tonight; but even though I paid my $5.00 and got more storage space from Google today, they're still not letting me upload any photos.  They did say it could take up to 24 hours, but I was hoping for less.   No matter...

This gives me time to ask What Would You Do?

Here's the situation:  your 5 year-old son (who happens to be utterly adorable) is playing on a soccer team (which looks like a swarm of bees in their yellow jerseys as they follow the ball and completely ignore the coach's instructions to spread out...you know how soccer games go in the 4 to 6 year-old league!).  After each game, the players are given a snack, which the parents take turns providing.  So far, every snack has consisted entirely of purchased items:  fruit roll-ups, granola bars, little packages of cheese crackers, etc., items that are easy to buy and hand out.  Your idea of an after-game snack, however, is different:  homemade cookies and fresh fruit sounds about right (along with some Gatorade, because these players are athletes after all, albeit miniature ones).  When it's your turn to provide the snack for the game, what do you do?  Go along with the trend, and get some pre-packaged, full-of-unpronounceable-ingredients snack items at Costco?  Or swim against the tide, and go the homemade route?

The pan of Congo Squares (a kind of bar cookie from my favorite Mennonite cookbook) cooling downstairs in my kitchen and the green grapes resting in my refrigerator tell you what I'll do, since tomorrow is game day for David and my turn to bring the snack.

As I beat the cookie batter tonight and dumped in the chocolate chips, I kept thinking, "Why?  Why don't the other parents bring something homemade?  Are they too worried about contamination to let their child eat something that's not pre-packaged? (If nobody on David's team trusts my cooking, I guess that means I'll get to bring home more cookies for my own family!)  Or is it simply a matter of convenience:  run into Martin's, grab some snacks, and rush on your way?  Have our lifestyles gotten so lazy?  Or so busy, that we no longer have time to make cookies at home for our children?  Or is something else going on here?"

I really don't know what it is, but I hope - oh, how I hope! - that I will never get to the point of distrusting my child's soccer teammates' parents' cooking...or to the point of being too busy to make a homemade snack for my cherished 5 year-old and his soccer team.

19 comments:

Valerie said...

Do you read Heavenly Homemakers blog? She just did a podcast about this very thing. http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/homeschool-curriculum-and-unhealthy-soccer-snacks-podcast-2#comments

Here is my little disclaimer - I didn't listen to it. *blush* I did read through the comments though :)

Love your October layout by the way. I liked some of your other choices too. Your blog is always so cute. :)

Mike and Katie said...

Ugh! I remember those days. I hated that part of it. The first couple of teams didn't do team snacks except on the tournament day. I was a food Nazi and would not allow the boys to part take in the horrible snacks. I regret that because it was really hard on them even though they would have been so sick and crabby because they never ate that stuff.

The choice of snacks has much more sinister roots. I was just reading an article about commercialism and marketing to children. Serving those treat introduces the idea of "popular" foods to innocent children, reinforces commercialism and materialism in t.v.'ed children and reinforces the idea with parents that that's all kids will eat.

It is very disheartening. When the boys first started to get invitations to youth groups there would always be the selling tag: "Pizza, pop, and candy!" So for our kids, it was inviting them to come have all the things their mother didn't allow at home.

It is still really upsetting to me. Here I am following the doctors recommendation about what children should eat and at every turn people are trying to get my kids to eat all the junk sold on T.V.

My plan with this next batch of kids is to not make such a big deal about why we should eat the bad food but to really play up why we eat the good food. "I like wheat flour because it makes you strong and has lots of good vitamins and fiber!" Instead of, "White flour is from the pit of hell and we should never eat it!" :)

Davene said...

Valerie,

No, I'm not familiar with Heavenly Homemakers; but how interesting that she did a podcast on this! I'd like to listen to it sometime when I have a few minutes to spare. Thanks for that link! I loved your disclaimer. :)

******

Katie,

Your last sentence totally made me laugh. :) And all that you wrote made me think about this issue further than I was last night. You're right about the marketing - even for good youth groups or good activities - being "pizza, pop, and candy." (Except here in the south, we would say "soda"!) :)

*****

Here's my disclaimer: we do let the boys eat junk food, probably a lot more than we should. Eating healthier is one thing that I want to work on...along with 50 million other things on my I-should-really-do-this list. Someday...

But it seems to me that these soccer moms would want to...I don't know...show off their cooking ability a little bit...or something. I guess for me, there's just something so special about homemade food. There's LOVE in it.

Speaking of love...three of my boys are up, and now I get to show them love!

Thanks, ladies, for your comments!

Julie said...

Yikes! (hot button alert) What a hard post for me to read because...well, I AM a mom who loves my kids dearly (or tries to...) and has 3 playing on teams this year and does my part to bring snack.

Last week I quartered a bunch of oranges, brought them in a big tupperware covered bowl, and had them at the ready for the halftime chow down (complete with a bag for the rinds to take home and compost later...do I get good mom points for that?)...and wipes for sticky fingers. I also had a pile of Gatorade bottles for them to grab.

After the game I had prepackaged granola bars to hand around (full of high fructose corn syrup and preservatives, no doubt)and that was it.

So to answer your question...I think it's a bit of yes to all of your questions. But it's painful for this mom to read phrases like "have our lifestyles gotten so lazy" when some of us are doing the best we can in the season to at least have our kids out there getting some physical activity.

The bottom line for me is to give grace to those parents who either don't "know better" or ARE too busy (which isn't always by conscious choice and not necessarily lazy) or are doing the status quo just because. Some might not have even thought of the idea of homemade. Or might NOT be an amazing cook. Or might be having to settle for "good enough" because they are trying to juggle other issues in their life.

You are an amazing, loving mom with SO MUCH to teach others. I am sure your example will speak louder than any words. Your sons and their soccer buddies are blessed! (Oh, to answer your question, I would do exactly what you are planning to do. I am sure you will give many, like me, food for thought. Pun intended!) Now I am off to our first game of the day...thankful that it's not my turn for snack. Don't tell!

mary bailey said...

Ouch! I must say that your "lazy" comments sting, even though my son doesn't even play soccer. Basketball season starts soon and parents sign up for after-game snacks that are provided by the concession stand run by our youth group---and yes it's stuff like pizza, hot dogs, and cupcakes.

I think using the word "lazy" and equating homemade snacks to the proportion to which people love their kids is not being generous to take into account what goes on in other people's lives....Busyness, stress, homework, housework, church, jobs, school, sports, marriage, parenthood. I'm sure the other parents would be surprised that someone thinks giving pre-packaged snacks means they cherish their children less.

I made cookies last night. They weren't even slice and bake....they were the really easy kind where you just break off the squares of dough. But I had also made a big pot of homemade chili and had rushed around with my son the past two days, completing a Social Studies project, searching endlessly in the stores for clothes for him to wear in his cousin's wedding, taking him to the seamstress after school to get his pants hemmed....Life got in the way. I was busy and I would have even relied on some convenience fast food for supper if necessary. I was busy and my cookies weren't from scratch...but I still cherish my family.

In short, I think you are "overthinking" the whole situation. People are busy, life is hectic. There's not something else sinister going on. Take your homemade cookies and fruit and let your actions speak for you. It might ring a bell with others, "Hey the kids really like fruit. I'll try that."

I enjoy reading your blog because it's interesting and you have a lot of wisdom and grace to share. I hesitate to click on "publish" because I don't want to offend you. I mean everything I've said in the nicest tone possible. You are a very capable woman, Davene, and not every mom is as efficient as you in cooking, cleaning, and keeping up with kids! Just something to think on :-)

Davene said...

I just wrote out a long comment; but when I went to publish it, it didn't go through and I lost it. Hello, place in cyberspace where lost comments go? Anybody out there? Would you mind returning my comment?? :)

I'll try again, but it's so hard to replicate what I wrote before...

What I wanted to say is that I am SO grateful, Julie and Mary, for your willingness to share your thoughts with me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being like iron in my life (Prov. 27:17). I need MORE iron; and in fact, I'm searching for it. But that's a whole other story...

I regret SO MUCH that my silly post about soccer snacks might have added to the heavy burden that we moms carry as we try to "do it all" (which nobody can ever accomplish). It was not my intention to formulate the equation of "love your child" = "don't give them fruit roll-ups for their snack." Far from it. If you looked in our snack closet here in my house, you would know the truth that there are numerous times when my boys eat such things. Does that mean I don't love them? Not at all.

To be honest, I've been wrestling with myself this week as I have felt like a failure over and over. I've felt the weight of the big fat "F" stamped all over my forehead. Who put it there? Jeff? No way. God? I don't think so. Just me.

As I look at the laundry piled up and the stack of papers I can't seem to keep under control, I look around and see "FAIL" here and "FAIL" there, and it's so discouraging. I am so very sorry if my words made you see a "FAIL" on you. Please forgive me for that.

I know one of you in real life and one of you only through blogging, but I have the utmost respect and admiration for both of you. I know you love your children deeply, and I think YOU are amazing!

I woke up this morning, thinking that I should delete this post because I didn't want it to come across as arrogant. I regret now that I didn't follow through with that. Again, please forgive me for how this post came across.

And now, while I pray for grace to cover my shortcomings, I think I'll go eat a fruit roll-up. Anyone care to join me? ;-)

mary bailey said...

Oh, Davene, your kind and gracious comment just proves what a classy lady and Godly woman you are! I so appreciate you taking the time to respond as you did and being so open and honest with your emotions and struggles. After I published my comment, I wanted to go back and say, "Wait a minute, *I* am the one who is overthinking this by taking offense where none is intended!" I apologize and, yes, yes, yes, I forgive you and hope you will forgive me.

Thank you for being a friend in the blog world. It is good to have like-minded, Christ-following women who can strengthen and encourage us.

Wishing you and your family a blessed weekend!

Julie said...

Seriously, dear friend,...I, too, debated clicking "publish comment", but...you DID ask AND I had just done soccer snack last week AND I was trying to be honest with what I was thinking/feeling, (which as my IRL friend you know is sometimes challenging for me).

And I meant that part about you being an amazing example, because you ARE. Thanks for listening to my trigger ;) And it was a beautiful soccer day today, btw. (I smiled inside as the "snack dad" for Kirk's team this week passed out fruit rollups and Capri Suns after the game.)

Davene said...

Oh, Mary and Julie, thank you! Again! You've blessed me this afternoon, and I'm so grateful.

Stephanie B. said...

I read heavenlyhomemakers.com regularly too. It's a great site that focuses on healthy eating.

The Little House That Grew said...

I loved the post and the comments. That's what this is all about right? Putting things out there and hoping to gain some perspective..and maybe change our own.
When I first read the post I thought.."Oh my..I have soccer snack in 2 weeks..I am going to make a fun homemade treat..with fruit..in a 2-go bag!! " I may not have thought of doing that until I read your post and thought...why not put a little effort into it. My little guy gets the bum rush around here on lots of other things, being the only boy to 4 girls. I love the debate and the warm spirit of your readers.
Lisa

Miriam said...

I have my own set of thoughts and opinions on such things, but they are nowhere near organized enough to put into words... plus I'm not a soccar mom ;P

The bottom line would be that I think homemade is always better (for numerous reasons) - except for Oreos ;) But I don't say that to offend anyone who doesn't do homemade.

Miriam said...

Oh... and I'm also not saying that we never eat "store-bought" foods, either ;)

Sally said...

I just read your post, and the comments, Davene. Wow! Just for one more perspective, when I was growing up, with rare exception, we ate what we could grow in the garden or Mom could make with simple recipes using flour and sugar (and a few other things), and beef. Chicken was a rare treat, fish even rarer. Store-bought fruits rarely entered our house (Gail reminded me recently that we got 1/2 a banana once a year), we ate the wormy apples off the trees over by the silver shed. Buying vegetables from the store was never thought of. We ate potatoes, and rarely had rice because we could grow the potatoes and we had to buy the rice. So, if we were somewhere else and there was store-bought food, man, oh man! Did we think we had entered heaven's gates! Granola bars, Twinkies, bananas, table grapes, those Cheap-o sandwich cookies, and what-have-you were the highest thing on our list. Of course our parents called them junk and not fit to eat, etc., but we would eat as many as our parents would allow and were so happy somebody brought store-bought treats.

So, in short, it might mean more to the parents to have homemade treats than it does do the kids. I know now that I'm a mom, I sure WANT to make homemade treats. Sometimes in a pinch I have to resort to Rice Krispie treats, and I'm sure I'll get in even tighter pinches and have to do Oreos sometime, or something like that.

Oh, also, I hope you can get past the failing feelings. I don't know that I'm one to lift you up very often since I have some of the very same struggles, but I can hope and pray with you that feelings of hope and joy will come to abide.

Home Instead said...

WWYD? Funny my kids are in soccer right now, and we have to bring prepackaged food. I'm passionate about many issues, but food isn't one of them. I dislike cooking and food prep, so I personally don't care what the kids eat for snack. (gasp! :-)) But I was thinking about your last thought about distrusting your kids' parents' cooking. My husband grew up not allowed to eat other people's food, his mom was a bit paranoid. So for the most part he will not eat other people's food. He will NEVER eat at a potluck or Bible-Talk or anything like that. For 10 years I don't think anybody's noticed. I just think it's funny. And yes he stands horrified everytime I eat food people bring me after having a baby!

davene devore said...

I saw your comment on my blog (which is in major major need of an update) and I thouht I would check your blogs out. Your personnal information is wonderful. I have only met one other Davene and that was when I was doing missions work in Jamaica. Where did your parents come up with your name? My dad's name is David. I hope you have a great week! Thanks for getting in touch.

Patti said...

This is a fantastic discussion. We haven't done any team sports (yet?) and I'm sure the snacks are going to be an issue when, and if, we do. There are not many affordable vegan prepackaged snack options. We always bring our own snacks wherever we go, and it's gotten pretty easy to be low-key about the fact that it's often different from the snacks others are eating. I have discovered that the issue of nutrition is right up there with homeschooling and breastfeeding and vaccinating for getting mothers riled up. I think these issues all unsettle us in a very primal way, causing us to question, at a very essential level, if we are doing what is BEST for our children.

pyrotechny said...

I was going to post a comment, but it's all been said! YES! and AMEN!
And my little P.S. I've found that many other mom's are intimidated when I bring homemade snacks, so many moms feel pretty helpless in the kitchen dept.! AND then there were the years that we were asked to bring a HEALTHY snack for sunday school....and I knew that my definition of healthy was different than most....ah the dilemmas! :D

Margie said...

I'm getting in on this late, too, but didn't at all read uppityness or arrogance or judgment in your post or any of your comments. It's just that food's such an issue for everyone, as Patti says.

My thought was just to go ahead and make the cookies! And if you have to do snacks again and run out of time to do homemade, buy snacks.

I think food for kids can be easily overthought and overworried about, when all we're trying to do is to get our kids to eat as "normally" (as in, food from home, not too much dessert or too many chips) as possible. None of us are in danger of overfeeding our kids too much fast food or hot dogs (although, at times life can get crazy and perhaps we'll have a brief period of chicken nuggets for a few too many meals). I strive to not make food a stressor for my kids, which essentially means that I try not to talk about it or make any kind of judgment call, unless it's to say, "Carrots are good for your eyes and spinach for your muscles!" Because kids take our words so literally, I'd rather them be much older before they begin making their own food judgments.

After only one afternoon with a friend, Elizabeth began to ask, "Is this healthy?" before eating something because those were the calls her friend was making about food at age 5. I simply replied yes, or not so much, and tried to downplay her concerns. She'll have lots to consider when she's older, so for now I'll take care of the food and let her enjoy her childhood.