Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

The Buttermilk Lesson Or. . .

How do we pass on to our children the things we love?

How do we help our kids develop a taste for those distinctive traits that make up our own family’s “culture”? What benefits are there if we take the time to share various foods, places, people, and activities with them? And, more importantly, what happens if we don’t prioritize this, if we don’t find a way to bring them into the richness of belonging?

There have been many studies done in the last several years which, troublingly, show that individuals—particularly young people—are feeling more and more isolated. . .not connected to others. What can we do to change that, at least in our own families?

Years ago,  a visiting professor at a Christian university  described the importance of traditions in a family. He said that these elements are powerful at providing a foundational awareness of belonging for children. It gives them a sense of place, a sense of who they are within a larger group. This, in turn, can help ground our kids to withstand that cultural pull towards isolation and disconnectedness.

As an example, this speaker talked about traditions his family observed each Christmas Day. For me, that day was a hard one for setting up traditions since things often didn’t go the way I had planned. BUT, the principle of intentionally creating that precious sense of a family’s traditions really influenced the way I sought to parent.

To give you a couple of out-of-the-box examples on how this works, here’s a story of how my father taught me to love buttermilk when I was a child. . .and raw oysters. . .and pickled pigs feet!

The Buttermilk Lesson

Imagine this scenario:

A six-year old girl is told she must drink buttermilk.

No one in her family likes it. But since they were all required to drink buttermilk by stern teachers with sour faces (impacted, no doubt, by the buttermilk), she must now experience the unpleasantness.

She tries a sip—and it is worse than she feared!!

It tastes SO awful, yet she has no choice but to drink the whole glass.

Tearfully, whimpering with each swallow, this little one chokes down the most disgusting drink of her entire life.

There is no joy here, only a dismal future of consuming soured milk.

(No sense of belonging, no happily anticipated tradition, only nasty tasting milk. . .)

Now, imagine a very different scenario:

A six-year old girl is told that she gets to drink BUTTERMILK with her beloved daddy!

It is initiation day into a very select group of buttermilk-lovers.

Her father shares stories with her of how much he, his brother and his dad LOVED buttermilk when he was growing up, and she can tell he means it because of the delight on his face.

He describes how carefully they would search out the best sources of really thick, wonderful buttermilk…And how they sprinkled just the tiniest bit of black pepper on top to make it perfect.

She takes her first sip of what she knows must be INCREDIBLY wonderful, because her father considers it so. YUM!! It is simply the best flavor she has ever had in her entire life.

There is utter delight, a sense of belonging, a new world of flavor opened up for her. The anticipation of her next glass of buttermilk prompts her to ask, “Daddy, when do we get to have some more????”

I have imagined the first scenario, but I lived the second at age 6, in Miami, Florida.

(Oddly enough, until my husband turned slightly pale when I wanted to buy some shortly after we were married, I had no idea that others did not LOVE buttermilk!!)

Raw Oysters? Pickled Pigs’ Feet??

I had the same experience, with that same sense of wonder and initiation into the world of oyster-eating, when I learned to eat raw oysters with my daddy when I was four years old. Making it extra special in a family sense, we were sitting on the beach just a short distance from my great aunt’s diner at Hood’s Canal, Washington.

I should probably mention that my mom didn’t like raw oysters! And she wasn’t thrilled about me eating them. . . though they seemed like the best thing in the world to me. Raw oysters pulled from the ocean just a few minutes ago were amazingly tasty—fresh and salty, with a bit of lemon juice squeezed over them.

Then there was the time I was introduced into the wonders of eating pickled pigs feet with my daddy, at age five. We had just moved to Apple Valley, California, and were exploring that very different region of the country. I’m not sure when or how my father ended up loving pickled pigs feet, but he considered them to be a rare treat! And, he taught me to appreciate them with great joy! (Frankly, I can’t even imagine eating that as an adult. . .)

A Lesson For Us

What are the common elements to these three unlikely-to-be-enjoyed-by-a-kid foods?

It’s simple: my father’s passion for them.

He not only loved these foods, he thoughtfully engaged me in the experience, introducing them to me with his own delight and with you-get-to-be-part-of-this-amazing-treat-too stories.

Previously, I shared “What’s In Your Cupboard?” to bring to light the remarkable wealth of wonderful heritage, experiences, passions, and knowledge each of us bring to our own table—and the powerful antidote this can be to the “comparison trap.” But knowing what you have is only the first step.  The second step is learning how to share it in such a way that our kids think it is FUN!!

The Buttermilk Lesson is a window into how my father shared weird foods with me when I was young in such a way that I totally loved them.

Now, I invite you to consider how you can share what’s in YOUR cupboard so that YOUR kids will love it!

How can you bring fun, delight, adventure, and engagement to the process?

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