Battle of the Beans
Written by: Trisha Moser
When I was kid, my parents did not allow me to win a single battle. I went to bed when they said it was time, I ate what they told me to eat, and I did the chores they asked of me. Now don’t start thinking that I was some sweet angelic kid that you only hear about in fairy tales. The reality is that my parents consistently disciplined and loved me as needed, which in my case was often.
When I became a mom and my oldest started showing his temper (that was so much like my own), I didn’t know what to do with him. My dad happened to stop by the house one day as my son was terrorizing us all, and in one word gave me the wisdom I so needed. My dad gave a little knowing smile to my son, leaned over to me, and whispered, “Win.” I never thought of this as a battle, but that’s what it was. That’s all it took for me to get out of my seat and stop the reign of terror coming from my little guy.
Shortly after our son turned one, we had our second child. She was a sweet, happy little girl that loved to laugh and snuggle. Then she turned two. I don’t know what happens with that magic number 2, but kids turn into these raging, tiny tornados. They rip through our homes and stress us out to point of tears. However, I had learned with my son that I had to win the small battles. Every time I did the easy thing (give him his way) he gained power and momentum. That wasn’t going to happen with this little girl. I was going to win. Always.
This is how it came about that one beautiful summer afternoon I found myself staring down my two-year-old daughter across the dining room table. I wanted her to eat three green beans, and she argued that they were “ucky.” I was going to win this battle. So help me, I was going to win.
She sat at that kitchen table for two hours, screaming at me the entire time, over those three green beans. When it was naptime I took her to her bed, laid down my screaming child, and left the room. I spent that entire naptime wondering if this battle was worth it, but I knew the next battle would be harder if she won. When she woke up, she went right back to her seat at the table. I pulled those three green beans out of the fridge and served them for snack. I was hoping that she would be hungry enough, or desperate enough for something else, that she would eat those beans. I was wrong!
There she sat until suppertime. We happened to be dining at my parents that night, and I could tell by the look on her face when she saw the pizza boxes that she thought she had won. We all sat down, prayed over our meal, and out came those three green beans. She stared at me, mouth open. I looked around the table at my husband, parents, and siblings. They also stared at me with their mouths hanging open.
I knew what was about to happen. I was about to be guilted into giving my daughter pizza by the very same man that told me to win, and by the people who should be supporting me in the hard-fought battles! Before any of them could say a word I calmly stated, “Before Gracie can have any pizza, she must eat these three green beans. I need you all to trust me and support me right now.”
Although I knew they were all still doubting my parenting method, they slowly went back to their own plates of pizza. Everyone watched my girl for how she would react. She reached for some pizza, and I gently reminded her that if she would eat those three green beans then she could have what everyone else was having. With a smile on her face, she picked up each bean one-by-one and ate them without any argument or fit.
I had won! I was weary, but I had won the battle! And let me tell you, it was worth it. You must understand that a single battle does not win the war, but consistency, love, and grace do. She’s five now, and she eats what I put in front of her. She might not like it, but I know that when she goes to friend’s house she’s not going to be served lunch and yell out, “I don’t like that!” These battles shape character, either for good or bad.
The battle is won, but the war goes on. Stay strong, moms and dads. These battles are worth fighting. They aren’t fun, and they make us tired, but we are not raising children. We are raising future husbands and wives. So I’m telling you, WIN.
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