Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday - don't forget to feed their bellies

One of the parents at my church recently shared with me that she and her daughter had gone to tour the local Mormon church after missionaries had visited their door. She took her daughter (4 years old) because the girl had expressed interest after that door-to-door visit. They got the tour, and afterward the mother asked her daughter what she had thought of it.

"It wasn't as fun as I thought it would be." answered the daughter, and - "there weren't any cookies".

True confession: when I was in army training I attended the Protestant church service just because they handed out donuts afterward. But, I actually did find comfort and transformation in certain aspects of that worship service while I was there.

Is it petty to "bribe" people to come to church with food treats? If it was really the only reason they came, then yes. But we need to remember Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

If a person hasn't met their survival needs, they can't worry about the others. So, if a child is actually not getting enough food, their ability to think, learn, and grow will be inhibited. I don't believe any of my children are starving or malnourished, but there is the second level of needs.

It is not comfortable to be hungry. It's not comfortable to go for too long without a snack, and it's certainly not comfortable to meet over a meal time without serving food. As a hypoglycemic, I really appreciate the need for regular ingestion of food.

So, meeting everyone's needs for survival and comfort, we can then move on to their psychological needs (acceptance, emotional safety, etc), then self-actualization, and finally "peak experiences" - of what we could call "experiencing the holy".

For these reasons, don't forget to plan for some food! The "snack parent" of the week is fulfilling a very important role, and the meals we plan for youth group and young adult meetings are very important as well.

I think I'll go have a snack ...


  1. As you know, I don't support snack in all contexts. I may have not won everyone over that way ;-). But you are right that generally, eating helps people feel comfortable in an environment, and that often it can be a pleasurable, comfort-inducing, bonding experience in class to share snack. The most important times of life to feed 'em I've noticed, are the really young years (preK for sure) and the middle school and high school years. Of course, we have a huuuuuge coffee hour after church where I am, usually with plenty of food.

  2. Snack can be tricky, with different dietary restrictions. However, knowing that cookies are served to the adults, I feel like it's really not fair to leave our kids without a snack. So, we've been working hard to have snacks that all our kids can eat - which this year has resulted in a lot of popcorn and apples! Next year it might be something different - I have to take a careful poll of the diets of the kids.

  3. I think it's very important to feed the kids, particularly after 2nd's right at lunch time, and often it takes a while for their parents to get out the door. The youth are there from 12:30 until 2:30, and while it would be ideal for them all to eat a good meal just prior, that obviously isn't the way most teenagers function. I feel so terrible about the popcorn and apples, but it's affordable and suits all of the dietary restrictions.

  4. Don't feel bad about popcorn and apples! The kids really never seem tired of finding those bowls of popcorn and apples waiting for them in the hall after class - they love it in fact. Simple, affordable, healthy, yummy - perfect!