Lately, my husband and I decided to get serious about our son’s pickiness when it comes to eating. He is almost 5. We decided that that is old enough to eat what mama fixes. He is good with fruit, okay with meat, but put a noodle in front of him, and he comes unglued. He will eat apples dipped in ketchup, but ask him to eat a plain, buttered noodle, and he thinks you’re are trying to poison him. (No, I did not make that last part up. He actually says that they are probably poison!)
Our plan to attack the pickiness is to set a time for supper. I usually give him about 45 minutes to eat whatever food I have put on his plate. (Note: we are not trying to make him eat weird foods. We have yet to push green vegetables and foreign cuisine. We are just talking spaghetti, folks! )We found that the time factor is necessary because he would sit there until it was time for bed, no matter what fun thing the rest of us might be doing. Nope, sitting there all night did not phase him.
So, in the time allotted he is to eat a small portion of whatever I have made for supper. If he does not complete the task, he gets it for breakfast. Basically, he won’t get anything else to eat until he finishes the food he was given.
We have had to enforce this two times now. Both instances have concerned noodles. Day 1, he finally finished his 6 penne noodles at 12:50, right before nap time. Day 2, he finished at 11 a.m., just in time to get to help dad with some farm work.
The goal of this is to take the pressure off of my husband and I. We were getting so worked up because our son was not eating! It drives me absolutely crazy! I cannot understand the sheer stubbornness of the kid!
Yes, friends, I have the most stubborn kid in the world!
This is the kid that will forego eating noodles, even if that means he misses out on a brownie with ice cream. This is the kid that would rather sit at the table, not eating, and therefore not get to eat pancakes and bacon. This kid would rather sit at the table all morning than eat 5 bites of spaghetti!
My husband keeps saying, “Just relax. He’ll get hungry soon enough. He’ll eat it. Let the hunger do the work.”
I cannot hardly stand it! First of all, I have to make sure he stays at the table all morning. Secondly, I can’t take the sheer ridiculousness of it all! Plain noodles! I’d be like, “A brownie sundae? Sure, I’ll eat 5 bites of noodles. That’s easy!” But no, not this kid. I can’t even stand the whole ordeal!
He’ll learn, right?
While this is a good lesson for me on patience and the trial and error nature of parenting, it’s also a good lesson on being spiritually stubborn.
I immediately thought of Moses and the children of Israel.
God had done so much for these people! He performed miracles before their eyes. He rescued them from a life of slavery. He traveled with them to the Promised Land. He had chosen them for His own.
Instead of being grateful, the people complained. They even claimed to miss their life of slavery! They refused to fully trust in God. God himself told Moses to tell them, “You are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I were to travel with you for even a moment, I would destroy you” (Exodus 33:5). Some versions say the people were “stiff necked.”
As a mom, I can relate! I mean, I just wanted to scream into a pillow all morning. But, as I was thinking, I wondered, “Does God ever see me as stubborn or stiff necked?”
When I have a stiff neck, it is painful to turn my head from side to side, or even up and down. Have I been spiritually stiff necked? Have I been unwilling to turn my head and change my ways?
How many times have I clung to my own plan, only to end up hurt, disappointed, confused, or frustrated?
How many times have I missed out on a blessing because I refused to be obedient?
How many times have I chosen to sin and therefore, had to reap the consequences?
Ok, I guess I have been stiff necked too. Like my son, there have been times that I have chosen to miss out on the brownie sundae.
Later in Exodus, after Moses pleads for God to continue with them through the desert, a new covenant is formed. God reveals some things about His true character. He passes in front of Moses saying:
“Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).
With a God like this, we have no need to be stiff necked. He is trustworthy. He is merciful. He is forgiving. He is slow to be angry. And, He is generous with His love.
We all have choices to make. We can choose to hang on to our stubborn ways, refusing to partake in what is good for us. Or, we can choose to do things God’s way. I pray that I will let go of my stubborn tendencies and embrace God’s plan. I don’t know about you, but I’m going for the brownie sundae.