A few weeks ago we had some new friends and their kids over. I wasn’t feeling totally up to snuff and therefore could not think of what to make for dinner. Turning to my 13-year-old, I said, “Do you want to make dinner?”
To my surprise, he assented. He rifled through our freezer to see what meat lay in wait, looked up a recipe, and grilled marinated chicken breast tenders for everyone.
At some point I realized how cool this was, that I could ask my oldest if he wanted to cook and he would. He could. I also realized this could be seen as showing off -when, in reality, I just felt too tired and sick to make anything fancier than packaged Ramen.
Still, it brought up the discussion of allowing our children to cook.
One of the best things my mother did for me was teach me to cook and bake. When she made anything, my sister and brother and I helped. I probably started out ‘helping’ the way all inquisitive toddlers and preschoolers do, yet do not remember ever being yelled at or discouraged from what I was attempting.
Likewise, inviting my children to help where they wanted was never a question. From toast to scrambled eggs to pancakes to boxed mix brownies, I have always had mine work with me. At a young age I asked them to stir this or measure and dump in that.
The family friend told us she did not let her kids in the kitchen. She didn’t like them messing things up.
I remember blinking and looking at my teenage son. He’s expressed surprise and a little concern over his peers who say they can’t or don’t want to make basic foods. He and his brothers are so unafraid of the kitchen that I frequently find they’ve made themselves an omelet or attempted chocolate lava cakes.
And, yes, it’s messy. I’ve had to carry egg noodle-crusted hands to a bathroom sink whilst yelling to another child to not turn the stove on without me there or I’d light him on fire (we have a gas stove). I came down to breakfast yesterday morning to find that my 8- and 5-year old had made French toast and coated the entire counter in spilled egg and milk. I’ve had to clean the oven after those same two ‘invented’ their own cake recipe and it overflowed the pan and the smoke alarms went off.
But it’s worth it. Now, I can look back and know that their cooking confidence was because of me. Because I allowed the mess. Because I encouraged the involvement. Because I pushed my children to try.
So I say to let them mess things up. Allow mistakes. It definitely leads to tasty rewards.
Sunday, June 2: “Why Give Teachers Presents?,” a post about how important it is to reward our hard-working teachers.
Monday, June 3: Wrote a poem titled, “A Chauffeur Mother’s Prayer.”
Wednesday, June 5: Dinner Tip 6: Buy and make frozen dinners.
Thursday, June 6: “Love is an Open Door,” a quick thought about real love as a parent.
Friday, June 7: Suggested one saving tip for doing laundry in, “NeverEnding Laundry… Na na na na na na na na naaaa.”
Saturday, June 8: Shared MumInBits‘s tweet about watching your favorite at the park.
Sunday, June 9: That’s today!
©2019 Chelsea Owens