Written by: Leanne Raymer
I love teachable moments! You know -those moments or actions in a day that you can take and use to help your children learn about God, faith, morals and character. It’s amazing where these moments come from. I certainly didn’t expect that a small carrot while cooking dinner would provide this opportunity.
My eight-year old daughter sat backwards on the slatted wooden chair. Her flowery note pad was folded in half exposing lined paper ready to be filled. A pink pen danced as she documented each move I took and each food item I placed into our supper dish.
“Alrighty, our chef is moving around the kitchen. She is cutting an onion. Garlic. Grating Orange peel?? What are you doing with that? I don’t think I want to eat that!”
Item’s she didn’t recognize she guessed at. “Ok, so…put in a cup of paprika!”
Dinner-prep time is a busy time in my kitchen. My two up-and-coming chefs (6 and 8) pull up chairs and flutter around me, reaching for food, measuring cups, bowls, rolling pins, knives, spices, cereal and various kitchen implements. I usually don’t need any of these. In many houses this is the time of day where the most accidents occur. Children suddenly start fighting. Noise levels rise. Patience decreases and bedlam hits! For this reason I have implemented a “Child-free zone”- a space in my kitchen that only exists during this crazy hour. My children, who I am raising to follow my love of cooking, are not allowed in this space while I cook dinner. I have realized accidents are less likely to occur, and my food is less likely to burn.
“Mom, can I have a snack? I’m so hungry!”
“No. We’re going to wait for supper.”
“But I’m so hungry.”
“You can wait.”
I was absorbed in cooking. And then something happened. I picked up a piece of carrot and put it in my mouth!
“Mom is eating!!” The shrill siren sounded from the reporter’s chair. She ran through the house yelling loudly, going from room to room. “Mom is not waiting!”
Seriously? A carrot sounded this alarm?!
Apparently, I had given permission for snacking prior to dinner! Suddenly, my child-free space filled with small fingers reaching for slices of carrot.
Immediately I realized how my small, unconscious actions impact those around me. Of course, eating a carrot prior to dinner isn’t really a big deal. But the incongruence of my words and actions were not lost on my daughter.
I was reminded of these verses:
1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
Titus 2: 7-8 (NLT) “And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized.”
Thankfully, our lives are filled with grace and teachable moments! I’m pretty sure God gives us these moments every day. As we sat at the table that night we talked about being an example in our actions, God’s grace and…cooking. And no, I did not use a cup of paprika to make dinner, although…if you have a great recipe for curry I’d love to try it!
Leanne Raymer is passionately about her faith. She believes God is a “ground level God” concerned with the real issues of everyday life and is willing to powerfully help, deliver and bring positive change. Issues of social justice, compassion and redemption are important to her. Currently, she resides in Lantz, N.S. with her husband of nine years, two young children (6 and 8 years old), and small dog. Fun, adventure, outdoor play, exploration and new experiences are top priorities for her. She is a full time student at Dalhousie University, a pastor’s wife, mother, friend and avid follower of Christ.