“Why do eggs make you so full so fast?” asked the kid sitting next to me. He needed to be sharp for the day ahead so I added some eggs to his waffle breakfast.
Reaching for all my scientific expertise I answer with the usual, “I don’t know” followed by a guess – “probably because it has protein.” Then teasingly/truthfully add, “Those eggs will for sure keep you going longer than your food of choice – Goldfish.”
The kid is fourteen and will still reach for a snack-bag of Goldfish over just about anything. And there’s nothing wrong with Goldfish – unless you’ve made them a food-group.
I could have gone into little life-lecture on how there are food groups that offer more nutrients than others – that food is our body’s fuel – that wise nutritional choices affect our ability to function throughout the day – yada, yada, yada. But I didn’t. Instead – as I sat next to him, watching him eat – I thought about those eggs and Goldfish. And I wondered why we’re so quick to run to the bright snacks that look and taste so good in the moment, that tempt us to think they’re vitamin-infused/healthy/baked-in-goodness, that quickly leave us flat and empty – rather than reach for lasting sustenance. I thought about how the things that fill to full often come with work & preparation, sometimes smell bad, don’t always pop with “flavor-blasted” excitement, can look boring. But only one satisfies and promotes growth. The other is fun and harmless in small doses, but simply lacks sustenance.
And I’m not talking about food.
My mind had quickly moved from eggs and Goldfish to all the other things in life where we opt for snack-ease over lasting sustenance.
Just in the other room, another kid was watching television, sort of. He was also playing Geometry Dash on an iPad at the same time. Not a bad thing in and of itself. In fact mindless decompression can be just what the doctor ordered after a long day.
But a diet of t.v. and iPad can leave anyone feeling a bit rotten, isolated and duped into thinking there’s nothing better in life than a screen to fill free time.
Just around the corner, a bit more nutritious form of entertainment sat on the dining room table. Two board games (Five Tribes and Power Grid) were waiting patiently for play to resume. The thing about board games, especially those of the strategy variety, it takes time, lots of thought and live human-interaction. Board games tend to be meaty, hard to learn and far from instant gratification. They promote problem-solving thought processes that not only offer sustenance in the moment, but growth & preparation for future real-life situations. And a board game win is a hard-fought road, paved not only with multiple losses but also learning and memorable accomplishment.
“I beat my 20-year-old brother in Five Tribes yesterday,” the 9yo t.v/iPad kid proudly told my friend who had stopped by for a iced-tea the other day. She had seen and asked about the games on our table. “I won by one point,” he continued.
She teasingly asked, “Have you ever lost to him?”
He grinned, “Only about 50 times.” Enter a side-dish of tenacity.
Eggs vs Goldfish.
Another example, and the I’ll quit => books. These days, reading any book is a good thing (especially books about freeing kids from entitlement or books about finding contentment in a culture of comparison – [shameless plug alert!]). We’ve gotten so accustomed to spoon-fed, tweet-length sound bites, it’s actually hard to sit down and digest something over 1000-words. Not a bad thing in and of itself. In fact mindless decompression can be just what the doctor ordered after a long day.
But adding to our diet throught-provoking, deep & challenging literature that promotes contemplation, questioning and consideration of human-existence circumstances so often portrayed through lives very different from our own is like reaching for kale instead of candy. Something we could use right about now.
Telelvsion iPad boy is reading in school Caddie Woodlawn, a classic. The other night he happily rattled off all that had been happening since I last snuggled next to him to read. “So the town invited Indian kids and folks that didn’t have much to a fair. And everyone got a coin to spend. Well Caddie gave her coin to a couple of kids who didn’t much of anything. That way they could go home with more. And you know the crazy thing – even though she gave away her chance to win or go home with something, she actually was the winner. Isn’t that incredible? She had really looked forward to spending that gold coin. But it was in the giving away that she actually got something real. She was so happy. And her happy lasted a lot longer than if she used her coin win a toy.”
Yeah, that. From a hard to read, seemingly boring, sometimes tedious book.
Then there’s Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (where a sentence lasts a page – not joking!) that is likely forever impacting our 18yo about the deepest intricacies in the human psyche – especially as it relates to truth and lies.
Mind-kale vs mind-candy.
Anywhooo … random thoughts during breakfast. Random and little convicting. Here’s to adding eggs to a Goldfish diet. It doesn’t stop with entertainment or books – it keeps going. Relationship: Text messaging is great, why not find some time in the calendar for relationship-kale today. Take a texting friend to lunch or for a long walk. Then, encourage those of the younger variety traveling alongside to do the same. It just might turn down the volume on so many of the social media/performance/measuring-up pressures that fill their space.
Thanks for walking the road with me.