If I remember correctly, it says in Proverbs something like "Train up a child in the way he must go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
I want to link that idea to real food, but I'm also wondering if behavior, just like health, isn't somehow food related?
I'm thinking about today's kids who are now in, or approaching, their semi-adult years... and whether they are really so much like (or unlike) we might have been (or were?) at their age, or is there something else/more going on?
The youngsters I see around here seem to concentrate entirely on using their opposable thumbs. I really have no problem with that (form of communication) although it's not my preference; it's their other behavior that interests me. So, I am wondering about whether there's actually a common cause like food for much of the behavior I see. (Don't misunderstand, please. I have many friends with great kids.)
I don't care what outlandish things kids wear, or the ghastly make-up and choice of attire, or their time enmeshed in texting... those are merely trappings, and I think some rebellion is a normal part of growing up. What I do care about is whether they have respect for anything, a real education, a sense of wanting to contribute to the community or the world, and some idea of what their families have provided for them.
I shall use my half-sister's daughter who lives here as an example. She's 24 and thinks the world owes her the lifestyle she covets. She was a late-in-life only child, born when my sis was 40, and who is still a single mother. The Kid lives on Ramen noodles, sugars, and other packaged starchy carbs, with an occasional chili or meatloaf thrown in every couple of months. (My sis can afford better food but the kid chooses what's quick and easy... and addictive.)
When she was about 4, the kid and my sis moved in with my Mother for a few years, and I spent a few months living there while building an addition on Mother's house for them. As with all my time ever spent living at home, Mother prepared a balanced meal for supper every night, much of it from her garden: salad, meat, green vegetable(s), usually a small side carb, and then a token light dessert. My sis never came to the table, but her kid did. She'd play with her food, end up restricted to the table until she "finished"... which she never did... and finally Mother would give in out of pure exasperation and let her go upstairs to Mommie. Around 8-9:00 my sis would come downstairs with the kid and give her pie/cake and ice cream or some other sweets she bought just for the kid. (It didn't help that the kid got almost any toy she wanted from the get-go either.)
I have no reason to think her eating habits ever changed; certainly her sense of entitlement never did. In all the years I visited, I never saw anything different, nor do I see it now that we technically live together, even though this house is divided into separate living quarters for me. The kid was diagnosed as ADHD when she was in elementary school, and has been on various meds ever since… that is, when she will take them. Frankly, if she wants to focus on something, she’s extremely able to focus, meds or not.
The Kid has had no job for over 2½ years, won't even consider temp work, and is looking for a sugar daddy. She won't even wash their dishes except maybe once a week under duress, and she has a mouth that would make a seasoned sailor blush. (If I had ever talked to MY mother that way, I'd have been toothless long before I was grown!)
I have to wonder how different her life might be (or might have been) if she had been encouraged by her mother to eat balanced "real food" dinners when our Mother was still alive and cooking for them... and later on, fed real foods while she was growing up. Could it actually be that simple? What kind of future generations could we raise IF we fed them healthy, nourishing foods?
If it turns out her ADHD problems could be somewhat mitigated by healthy food, what might that mean for other kids today? Is there even much research being done on the emotional or psychological states of our kids and foods? I do see research on obesity in kids today, and those skirt as much of the industrial food issue as possible.
There is no way I can see to change this kid's eating habits; I've tried, and the habits are too ingrained. (Plus, it’s not my kid nor my responsibility either, except as a concerned person.)
My own eating habits haven’t changed much in the 50+ years I have been providing for myself either, except to exercise some discernment in real food choices as industrial food has become bleck.
My mother trained me right…