Monday, October 7, 2013

The Family Cookie

I actually had a parenting "win" today. If you are reading this and don't know what that means, it means that for once I feel like I did something right. I planned on making 3 ingredient pumpkin cookies today, and as I was getting the ingredients out, it came to me. My kids have been fighting non stop, acting up, talking back. Its been awful. I have been praying for God to show me some creative ways to deal with this, because nothing I was doing was working. And as I looked at the 3 ingredients on the counter,this is what came to me:
3 kids, 3 ingredients. It was the perfect fun teaching opportunity. And I want to share it with you.

The ingredients:

Each kid got one ingredient. How you choose may depend on your family situation. You could let the oldest choose first to teach that the oldest child sometimes gets more privileges. I needed to teach my oldest child that he has more responsibility and that it is harder being the oldest, so I assigned him pumpkin and randomly handed out the other two ingredients.

The reason I gave him the pumpkin is because that is the ingredient that takes the most strength and the most work.  Being the oldest child is not an easy job, but it is such an important role.

Angelina had the cake mix.  She added it, and Ryan asked if he could mix them together.  So, I let him.

it was simple enough, but he needed some help, so I had Angelina hold the bowl while he held the mixer

I used that as an opportunity to teach them that even though Ryan is the oldest and has more responsibility, he needs help too.

Now for the sweet part, the chocolate chips.  Before we added the chocolate chips, I used some of the mix without it to make 3 cookies.

As we added each ingredient, I was asking the kids questions like, "Would the cookies come out right if we left out an ingredient?" 

We put the cookies in the oven set on 350* for about 10 mins.  While they baked, we sat at the table and talked.

I was telling the kids that our family is like a cookie (which is where we came up with the silly name "family cookie").  Each one of us plays a very important part in our family, even though we are all very different.  We talked further about the importance of using every ingredient.  Although they did pick up on the fact that the chocolate chips are not needed, but they sure do make them taste better.  If we used pumpkin without cake mix, it wouldn't work, and vice versa.  In order for our cookie (family) to be a good one, we have to work together.

Then I asked them a silly question, "If the ingredients had feelings, would it have hurt while they were being mixed together?"  I had to really allow myself to be silly at this point, because I was trying to have serious conversation with my kids, and they were having a lot of fun which was driving me crazy.  Then quickly remembered my audience.  And I explained to them that the mixer is like discipline.  Being disciplined is not fun, but in order for us to "come out right" it is necessary.  If we put all of the ingredients in the bowl and did not mix them, they would not be very good cookies. Without discipline we would all be a big mess.

We prayed together about being a family that works together and helps eachother, and they went off and played.  I tried to take up the 10 minutes with talking, but it didn't last that long...maybe 5. 

When the cookies were done and cooled enough to eat, I called them back to the table.  I gave them each two cookies.  One without and one with chocolate chips.  I told them to eat the one without first.  They all thought it was yummy, but they couldn't wait to get to the one with chocolate.

I used this example to show how we all do things together.  Ryan did NOT want to make cookies with us when I told them that was what we were doing.  Angelina and Tyler did.  But Ryan had a lot of fun with us.  So, I asked them if the cookies would have come out as good if Ryan didn't help.  Obviously we did not need him to make the cookies, but it sure was more fun with him there with us. We make eachother's lives sweeter.

When I started this, I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to say, but I knew the point I was trying to make. So, words just came to me as we were doing our thing. And it was so much fun. When Ralph came home and I was asking the kids to explain to daddy what we had learned, all they could remember was "We made cookies!" Real nice. But I think they learned more than they will ever let on ;)