I am here today to address one of the great travesties of parenting, something that can emotionally and psychologically scar your child if not handled properly. It’s an area in which all parents need to step up their game if they claim to love their children. I’m speaking of course, about snacks.
A little context for this serious issue. My daughter Annie is playing softball this Spring. Since this is her first time playing organized softball she is, God love her, not that great. But her mother and I encouraged her to try different sports and see if she would like it. Unfortunately, the team is pretty much a disaster. It seems our team got all of the girls who had never touched or thrown a ball of any kind in their lives, ever, at all. No one has any idea how to catch or throw. We’ve lost every game. What’s even worse is that the parents don’t bring snacks for after the game.
Yes, snacks. Snacks are the light at the end of the tunnel. Snacks are like payday to a child. Snacks are more important to some kids than the game itself. Snacks are what you tell kids they will receive so they’ll go to church, (you know you’ve done it), the dentist, or to birthday parties for those kids that nobody likes but every parent feels sorry for.
Mom: “Come on, let’s go to Billy’s birthday party.”
Son: “Ah, mom, I don’t even like Billy.”
Mom: “There’s going to be cake and ice cream.”
Son: “Well it would be rude not to stop by.”
Snacks make everything better. It’s like to salt on a meal, but instead of salt it’s sugary goodness that comes in many forms. Snacks include juice boxes, candy, crackers, cookies, Goldfish, popsicles, on and on to infinity. A snack is only limited by a parent’s creativity and wallet. And to a child, (especially the younger ones), snacks are just as critical to the event as the event itself.
Actual conversation we had with our daughter after visiting a church:
Parents: “How was the Sunday school class?”
Daughter: “Not so good.”
Parents, concerned: “Oh, I’m sorry. Were the kids mean to you? Was the teacher bad?”
Daughter: “No. They just didn’t have snacks. Can we not go to that church anymore?”
When I was a kid playing baseball, it didn’t matter if I won or lost, I knew I was getting a free snow cone from the concession stand afterwards. Even if I struck out at the last at bat or we lost 46-3 I knew that after the game I would delight in the sugary sweet goodness of a delicious snow cone. The snack was the either the cherry on top of a win, or the sweet redemption, (literally), after a loss.
Some parents screw up snacks. It’s hard, but it happens. We’ve all been to that birthday party where the child is allergic to everything, including himself, so the “cake” is some sort of non-allergenic, no sugar added, dairy free, gluten free option that the government isn’t even allowed to serve to people in jail. “Oh wow, a rice cake with a candle in it. We um…have to go now.” Or parents try to go the healthy route and serve carrot sticks, celery, or vegan candy. Look, if you want your child to have low cholesterol and never enjoy anything delicious, that’s your business. But the Bible says you have to include sugar in any snacks you offer to others. (I think it’s in the book of 2nd Opinions). The Lord hath said, “You shall not mess up snack time.” Heck, even Jesus provided snacks before going to the cross. Snacks are Biblical, but even this holy admonition is not enough to keep some parents from messing up snack time.
Which brings me back to my daughter’s softball team. They’re sweet kids, but they ain’t winning any games. They should at least have snacks at the end to communicate, “Hey, it’s okay. So you struck out 9 times. At least you can enjoy this cookie and Hi-C juice box and know that I love you.” In full disclosure, my wife tried to get other parents to bring snacks, and even brought snacks one game, but no one responded, no one signed up for snacks, and thus the kids end each disappointing game with the further disappointment of not having a delicious treat.
That is, except for our daughter. You see, unlike these other parents, we actually love our child. Unlike other parents, we actually obey what the Bible has to say about snack time. So after every loss, we walk back to our car where we provide our daughter with a sugary treat and a drink.
So please parents. Step up to the plate. Open your wallets. Consider your child’s well-being, and for the love of all that is sweet and tasty, provide good snacks to your children.