It looks like an ordinary waffle iron. It’s a large round belgian waffle maker that impresses my children with it’s smooth flip/turn hotplates, making crisp and steamy waffles in seconds – nearly perfectly golden brown every time. It’s impressive. Truly. But what they don’t know is the weapon hidden beneath the butter and syrupy goodness.
A weapon in a waffle? This chick as seriously lost it… that is what you’re saying to yourself, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. There IS a weapon in a waffle. The lure is the steamy crisp dimpled holes, holding melted butter and pockets of rich syrup. What they never see coming is the bonding over these said dreamy hot breakfasts that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Did you know that the average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. (A.C. Nielsen Co.) That is simply dreadful. I know – it’s busy and hectic out there in life. But it’s not even an hour on AVERAGE – per week! As our kids get older here in our house, I find it is vastly important to know what’s going on in their lives, but often there is not a lot of time or ways to really know what’s going on in their heads. There is the homework hamster wheel and the various after school activities, the chores, the unending laundry and dinner prep, the errands, and the normal rat race each week that makes me say, yeah… i can see how that less than an hour of conversation, MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION, could happen to any family.
But here’s a secret…your kids will talk to you over a meal before they will talk to you when you ask, “how was your day?” The standard, “fine” answer goes out the window when a steamy meal or even just Peanut butter and Jelly is before them. You will be able to capture moments impossible without the lure of food induced conversations. If you force yourself to do it, it will be come a treasured time you will willingly set aside at least 3 or 4 nights a week. We are lucky to be able to say 6 or 7 nights a week are sit down family meals. With the new waffle maker? We now have sit down breakfasts every Saturday possible, plus 2 mornings before school because we all WANT a waffle!
We play a game our kids ask to play each night at dinner… and some mornings too. It’s called “High/Low”. We go around in a circle and we all say what the day’s low was – what didn’t go right or made us upset or mad or just frustrated. We talk it over. No one interrupts that person’s time. We end up hearing things we’d never hear otherwise. Then we go around ending on a high note with the good thing that happened, the surprise moment, or the thing we just enjoyed most. We find the kids clamber to add one more high, and then another one… it’s wonderful to hear all the things that went on in their day… and they willingly share it. We have to remind them to eat and not just talk. It’s my hope that they will get so used to doing this at 7, 10, and 12 years old that when the big stuff begins to creep into their lives, they will just as easily want to come talk to us as they do over waffles or dinner now. If it’s not new territory to talk openly about things that go on in t heir lives, then the ground is at least broken for those difficult conversations.
“Frequent family meals are associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades in 11 to 18 year olds. (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004)”
“Adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders. (University of Minnesota, 2004)”
“Kids who eat most often with their parents are 40% more likely to say they get mainly A’s and B’s in school than kids who have two or fewer family dinners a week. (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University)” -http://dinnertrade.com/568/interesting-statistics-on-family-dinners –
With these kind of positive outcomes from simply eating together (which we all MUST do on a regular basis) – who has the time to NOT follow through on something so important.
Okay, off my soapbox for today.
As I put the syrupy plates in to the dishwasher just a few minutes ago, I thought to myself, I wish I could give this gift to all my cherished friends. The gift of time with their kids, of conversations to last a lifetime, and love that will carry them through the rough patches to come. So here is my prayer for you and your family – that whatever you can hide the weapon in, hide it and cherish it! For me it’s waffles. Find your waffle, friends! Your kids will better for it and maybe even YOU will gain a lift to your day 🙂