Let me share a little story with you.
My oldest daughter’s name is Rachel. She is fifteen. About six years ago, a friend asked me what Rachel liked to cook. My response was something like, “Well, she likes to help me, and she can cook eggs, but I am too much of a control freak to just turn her loose in the kitchen. There’s always so much mess, and it’s just easier for me to do it.”
My friend’s response, forever seared into my brain, was a very calm, “Well, you need to get over that.”
I. Was. Stunned.
NO ONE (except occasionally my husband…and maybe sometimes my mom) tells me what to do. Seriously. No one.
I didn’t really react to my friend’s advice at the time, because I had matured enough to not speak in anger (well, mostly). Besides, I had a sneaking suspicion that my friend might be on to something, but I wasn’t quite ready to face it.
Long story short, my friend was right.
My job is to prepare my children for LIFE. Cooking will very likely be a valuable part of their lives. Cooking can help them eat healthy meals within their means, and it can help them connect with the people around them. Cooking might even be something that they some day enjoy.
So, I started giving my kids more responsibility–and more freedom–in the kitchen. And, to be honest, sometimes it’s really messy, and there are occasions when it would just be easier for me to do it. There is also some grumbling and complaining from time to time (from both them AND me!).
But, there are also days like today–days when I don’t prepare a single meal, but we still eat like royalty with Scotch eggs for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and homemade ravioli for supper. That’s pretty cool. Totally worth any investment and inconvenience on my part.
And, that’s part of what parenting is–a worthwhile investment that is occasionally inconvenient. And, if what I’ve been told is right, it goes by in the blink of an eye.