Breakfast, Kids and God

Breakfast, Kids and God - Parenting Like HannahIf your children attend an average elementary school, they are probably having breakfast around 6:30 or so in the morning. Schools are great about pressuring the parents of even kids who don’t want breakfast into having morning rounds of “just eat a little something” . At school, your children may be eating lunch as early as 10 am. By 11 am, most elementary aged kids have had two meals or a snack and a meal.

Then Sunday morning arrives. It takes a small miracle to get everyone dressed, ready and out the door in order to arrive at church anywhere close to the start time. There really isn’t the time to take the extra effort to coax a reluctant breakfast eater or make any sort of nutritious breakfast.

Suddenly, your children’s bodies (which are used to having two chances at food by 11 am) are in worship and Bible class. Their stomachs are growling and all they can think about is what your family might be doing for lunch. Now I don’t know about you, but when I am hungry, I quickly get to the point where I am not hearing anything that is being said. All my brain is doing is thinking “Are you done yet?!” It just wants food.

Yet, many families depend on worship services and Bible classes to be an important (in some cases the only) component of the spiritual education of their children. Having taught Bible classes for decades, I can promise you this. If your child (or teen) is hungry or over tired in Bible class, they will learn almost nothing that day. Even the best curriculum and the most exciting activities will bounce off of a brain that is beginning to seriously suspect your child is planning to starve it.

On the other hand, I am totally realistic. I have been in your shoes. We have even had days when someone had to double back home for something I had forgotten that was essential to teaching class. I don’t expect you to serve magazine quality breakfasts and have deep spiritual conversations before church.

Nutritionists, please forgive me. I say throw caution to the wind. Throw some pop tarts, muffins or doughnuts on the kitchen counter. Buy little juice boxes or individual milk cartons. Train older children to pour cereal and milk without your help. Allow everyone to grab breakfast as they can fit it into getting ready. Don’t tell anyone, but I have even been known to allow my reluctant breakfast eater to bring something and eat it in the car on the way to church. The key here is having food on their bellies. What your children will now be able to learn from the rest of the day is more important than the questionable nutritional content of this one meal a week.

This Sunday, remember, if you want your children to be able to grow from anything that happens at church, make sure they eat something before coming. You may finally be able to get detailed answers of what happened in Sunday School!

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)