A friend of mine yesterday talked about how over the years she’s allowed more and forbidden less. The idea is that while you do have to say no, it’s especially important to make sure we’re saying yes when we are able. That makes sense, and I’ve seen it before. While we were growing up, my mom was careful to point out the advantages of doing what we were doing. She always wanted us to understand that God’s ways were better than the world’s ways. When we passed the false church with people streaming out, she’d ask us if we saw anyone smiling. Amazingly, we never could find any. That’s because people who do not know the true and living God cannot be truly happy. She made deliberate attempts to fill our lives with fun, profitable activities, because she was particularly concerned that we not be bored and lured by the attractiveness of sin. That makes sense, even with small children.
The principle of replacing evil with good is found in the Bible. The most obvious place is Ephesians, where Paul talks about putting off the old man and replacing it with the new man and gives us a list of examples. Our fight against sin isn’t complete until we replace the sin with its opposite: a thief is no longer a thief when he stops stealing and starts giving. A child who was unkind doesn’t make it right until he stops being unkind and starts showing kindness.
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
It’s not a spiritual issue, but I’ve been thinking about allowing certain things that don’t matter. I’ve been compiling a list of things my children have eaten. Is it okay to eat
- pet food?
- play doh?
- leaves, sticks, and big rocks?
I’m probably odd in that if it’s non-toxic and not a choking hazard, I don’t stop a taste. Lee says dog food is nutritious, but I still wouldn’t like our children chowing down. I might redirect a child stuffing his mouth with play doh, but it tastes bad, and I figure it’s okay for him to figure it out on his own. Now, I loved to eat chapstick as a child because it tasted good. I’d probably stop the chapstick eating, but I wouldn’t feel terrible about a little taste.
Maybe I’m just a nerd mom, or at best a very scatterbrained one. Type A mothers, have patience with me; I might change someday.
Ethan is a child who puts everything in his mouth! Our only worry about cat food was the scare of pet food from China that killed many pets last (I think). We didn’t want him eating that! I understand the need to not make everythng of limits. I can be a strict disclipanarian or a lazy couch potato. It is hard to have a balance!
BTW I liked the taste of play doh! 🙂
Yes, I think I would probably in that situation keep the cat food off limits. 🙂 When I was little, I was fascinated by goats and would eat paper. As for playdoh, when I was little, we had a babysitter who would pretend to eat playdoh. We always thought she really did eat the cookies we brought her, but a few days after she had left one time we found a big lump of dried playdoh that she had forgotten to return to the tubs. We still thought she was a great babysitter. Fun memories!
What would you say about an older child (8 yr. old) who loves to eat the erasers from his pencils. Yes, he makes it a point to consume them, not just chew them out of boredom or habit. At this age, would you appeal to the aspect of “taking care of what God has given to us” or would you let the child gnaw away to his little heart’s content?
Shellie– I’m the wrong person to ask about that! I tend to think that’s a matter of parental style. I’d wonder whether he’s not being a good steward in other areas (I’d be looking for a pattern). If it’s just a peculiar and isolated habit, I might give him only one pencil at a time, but I don’t think I’d forbid it (and I wouldn’t let him chew my own pencils up). Then again, my children aren’t eight, and I’m an odd mother to begin with. I don’t have a good sense of social savvy, so maybe someone who excels in non-nerdness will contribute to this fun discussion. 🙂 Would anyone do something different?
This post is making me laugh, because I seem to remember that playdoh eating was forbidden when we visited your house while growing up. (But perhaps that was just when Tom was in charge… hehe)
I’ve got a nearly-8yo, and if he suddenly began eating pencil erasers, I’d probably just require that he use up the eraser-less pencils first. But this kind of thing I’d expect more from my 2nd son! The one who is frequently found chewing “found” gum when we’re out and about…*faint* (I’m fairly lenient with kids’ oral exploration, but cigarette butts and found gum are probably my limit! LOL)
Back to topic, however, he’s old enough to start in on a fun and interesting nutrition study. Perhaps you can let him research the ingredients of pencil erasers and make up a report/display on how they may or may not nourish his body! lol 😀
When I was young Elmer’s glue was my vice. Now I just make skin with it on my hands. As for eraser eating, not really a problem. I don’t think I would replace any eraserless pencils for my child though. If he needed an eraser he could buy his own, or buy pencils to replace the ones with missing erasers. I will allow my daughter to pick up her pacifier when dropped almost anywhere, parking lot, grocery store, etc. However she does not get to use it without rinsing it if it is dropped in the public restroom or my exam rooms. Sand not a problem, probably helps clean out the intestines on the way through, kitty litter or sand that has been used for those purposes, NO WAY.
As for pet foods, most dog and cat food is engineered to be very nutritious. I don’t usually encourage eating pet foods nor do I actively discourage it. Michelle is a very good cook and I figure one of these days they will learn to prefer her food. Note: we don’t have cats or dogs so my kids are not able to eat pet food on a regular basis.
HiHi Michelle and Lee, I was sharing your site with a friend, I do not usually get a chance to visit much, (our children are all teenagers now… lovin’ it, too) anyway … I was reading about the pencil erasers, It reminds me of our dear friend Kayla (Your mother would know her for sure) she would even eat the house ..as a matter of fact I think she was caught eating the house once, and erasers,… Lee is there anything in an eraser / i.e., a mineral or the like that might a child be craving? Perhaps lacking in? In Kayla’s case, I guess there were some nutrient difficiencies… (My husband, when he was small, apparently ate bees… heavy sigh)
Our children did not eat strange things, I think I was just overly protective during that stage. My Michelle might have eaten a spider once.. hmmm.. long time ago…) That’s my 2 cents… have a GREAT Week! Your Friend (In Long Beach,)
In His Grip,
Eating wood and “non-edible” things can sometimes be a sign of an iron deficiency. Occasionally it can be evidence of other problems. Experimenting with textures, and flavors by putting things in one’s mouth is common in young children.
It’s funny, I’m an atheist and I’m happy all the time. I think your mother’s logic was flawed.
Also, dog food is most certainly NOT nutritious. Do you know what they put into that junk?
Frances, Thank you for your courteous reply! When I wrote this, it wasn’t that I thought that dog food should replace the hamburger at my children’s plate. It’s just that I wanted to communicate that it wasn’t poison (with the exception of the discussion about tainted dog food– obviously if it’s killing dogs, it will not be healthy for my children). As for your being a happy Atheist, I think what my mom was communicating was that a Christian’s understanding of happiness is different than an Atheist’s, not that an Atheist never smiles or enjoys life or knows the satisfaction of living for others. However, if you’ve never had filet mignon, then a sirloin might taste like ambrosia. Likewise, the Bible teaches that there is tremendous happiness in knowing God, and having a guilt-free conscience through forgiveness of sin. Ultimate happiness comes from God alone. (In fact, the Bible teaches that God sends rain on believers and unbelievers alike, so I might argue that the happiness you feel is a gift from God!) I don’t mind if you disagree, but we both can’t be right. 🙂 (You are the first person to disagree with me on this thread! Thank you again.)
Since I was a child I remember to eat eriser but not the one smell, pencil eraser and paper. I stop to eat paper but righ now I am 40 and still eat eraser I love the texture is kind of cronchy. I will like to know if is bad or not then I will try to find the way how to quit to eat my favorite weird thing. LMAO