New Foutz Rule

One of the largest take home messages I got from the Positive Discipline philosophy was, if it only works for a week- “Great! It worked for a week!” So who knows the duration of this latest success, but I’m reveling in it as long as I can.

There was a long period where dinner time conversation became a string of “I don’t like that.” “Do I have to eat this?” “How many more bites” and “I do wannit.” As any mother knows by the time dinner rolls around, if a hot meal has been prepared and presented and then received in this ungrateful tone, it’s hard to handle.

I was particularly taken aback by it, because this sort of pickiness was new in our home, at least from Scotland. I wasn’t sure where the sudden change in taste buds were coming from. All I knew was, I didn’t like it.

I took to saying “You don’t have to like you, you just have to eat it.” Which of course didn’t come off very sympathetic and didn’t earn many followers. But I have an abhorrence for pickiness. I believe the world would be a better place if people just ate what they were served and were grateful for it- both in terms of food and life in general.

When considering the question “How do I want to raise my boys” it struck me that the best way to know how to raise my boys was to look at the world and say “What does the world need?” (I also think this is a beautiful way to choose a career.) The world needs more gentlemen, more who are grateful and appreciative, more optimism, more work ethic, more thrift. .. I could go on and on. But the one that struck a chord relating to this post was- the world needs fewer people who complain.

So a new Foutz rule was formed.

No complaining at the dinner table. You can think it, but you can’t say it. If you do, you are welcomed to your room for the rest of dinner.

I proposed the idea to Tom and he was on board and presented it to the boys that very night. (Thank goodness it came from him, and not me, he practically walks on water in the boys’ eyes.) We had a few warnings the first few nights, but now- all it takes is the start of a groan- the “eye” and they clam up. I was delighted. That’s all I hoped for, a shift from dinner time conversation being taken up by “If you take three more bites. . .” and turned to “How was your day?” But the most delightful side effect is that the boys are now eating and liking seemingly everything I make! My boys are now requesting seconds of spinach salad with a balsamic vinaigrette! They scarf down romaine lettuce, and have welcomed the recent addition of many more vegetable sides at our meals. It’s really quite miraculous. Cooking has become more enjoyable, I don’t dread dinner. And I’ve been throwing together a green salad almost every night- because it no longer feels like a waste.

I’m right peachy about it all. Here’s hoping it keeps up!


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