Post from A Stay at Home Pastor: Adventures in Lunchen Gastronomy

   So have you ever had a pickle vanilla frosting Graham cracker sandwich? They are delicious. Sweet and salty. I can say this, because Gabby and I have had some. Let me tell you how this lunch gastronomical experiment was created and what I’ve learned about parenting from that experiment. 

     Gabby and I have our lunch routine in our house. We come home from play school and the negotiation begins. It is a kin to the SALT negotiations of the 60’s through the 80's. The chief negotiation tactic is where one regularly has a crying fit. Lunch options always begin with what we have in the refrigerator. After we pick the main course, then we debate the sides and drink options. The fruit and candy option we hold off until later rounds in the day.  On December 12, the negotiations began, but Gabby broke negotiation protocol by pulling out the cake frosting and pickles out of the refrigerator and announcing that she wanted a sandwich made of these things.  In this moment, I had a split second decision to make. In moments that all parents have a bias toward trying something new or correcting basis upon your own values.

     As I became a new dad, I figured out that parenting has two aims. Out of the evolution requirements, the aims are reproduction and adaption. As parents, we want our children to reflect the best we are: reproduction, while engaging an new and unknown world: adaptation. When life is easy or relatively easy, these aims are in harmony. But there are times when you find yourself and child in predicaments where these aims are in conflict. The trick in parenting is learning how to resolve these predicaments in a creative way so that your child has the best outcomes. So when your child comes with a pickle jar and a vanilla frosting container, you can say, "pickles and frosting don’t go together." This would be reproduction, because your values inform your imagination that it won’t taste good.  On the other hand, you could look at this moment as a moment to try out something new. This would be adaptation, because your response is supporting your child in trying something new. Now it would be easy to say we will always take the adaptive aim. Yet if your child wants to make sandwiches out bleach and toilet-bowl clearer, we can agree that this is off limits. While we might have bias toward one aim over another, the aim we choose are dependent on a lot of factors. There are no hard fast rules, but as time goes on, you get an intuition. This intuition can be developed through mindfulness activities that allows both in the moment and reflection on the moment.

     I think it is best to start with the reflection on the moment, because it takes practice to develop perspective. Also as you get used to asking the question during reflection of the moment, the questions will come into your awareness naturally out of the moment.

 

Reflection on the moment:

What do I remember of that moment?

What were negative outcomes?

What were the beneficial outcomes?

What would a reproductive response look like?

What would an adaptive response look like?

At that moment, was my response reproductive or adaptive? How so? 

What did I learn for the next situation?

 

In the moment:

What I’m aware of right now?

What is my goal for this situation?

What I have learned from the past could help me now? 

What would a reproductive response look like?

What would an adaptive response look like?

How might an adaptive or a reproductive response further that goal?