Thursday, May 03, 2007

About Gluttony

We’re covering the Seven Deadly Sins at our church.
This weekend, the subject was Gluttony.

I suppose gluttony has become a way of life for a lot of people. Have you heard those radio commercials lately? At the drive up window, the guy orders a spare tire with a super sized side order of love handles? And his date orders the pa-donk-a-donk butt with a side of thunder thighs? And for dessert – they both go for the “double-chin”.
Now that’s truth in advertising!

Sure, it may sound funny, but what are we teaching our children? What sort of habits did our own parents instill in us?

I remember as a child growing up, we were always told to clean our plates at meal time. I can’t tell you how many times I heard about those starving children in Africa and how grateful they would be for that slop on my plate. I never could figure out how my not eating all the slop on my plate would help some kid on the other side of the world, but I was made to eat it anyway.

And it never once mattered that I was already full. I was a rather small kid and had a small stomach, but that never seemed to matter. (I was little, I didn’t need very much.)
So I was usually the last one at the table, eating food that had become cold and not very tasty. For that matter, maybe if it was tasty when it was warm, I may have eaten it in less time.

Now, I’m not saying my mother was a bad cook, she was actually a very good cook. She just chose to prepare things I didn’t care to eat. Remember beets? And spinach? (not the good leafy stuff from the garden, I’m talking about that stringy slimy stuff from the can).

And my step-dad didn’t help much either, pretending the spinach was a plate of worms and slurping them up and telling us how yummy they were. Or when he’d tell us that the secret ingredient in the meat-loaf came from the backyard (we had a dog).

But they made us eat it all anyway. The word “gluttony” was never used, but it apparently was just something we were taught to do.

“But I’m not hungry! I’m full!”

“There’s starving children in Africa, you know.”

Once I was full, all I wanted to do was go out and play.
In Southern California, there was always plenty of sunshine and warm weather, so after dinner, year round, we wanted to go out and play. “Not until you clean that plate”.
And no, she wasn’t asking me to do the dishes.

There is a nice restaurant my wife and I like to visit here occasionally. The price is reasonable and the portions are huge. The last time we ate there, I got just over halfway through the meal and started slowing down. My wife asked if I was okay, or if the food tasted alright.

“No, it’s good. I’m just feeling kind of full”

“Then why don’t you just stop eating?”

“Because……. I want to go out and play!

Some habits are hard to break I guess.

Something else worth noting: When I was growing up, those trips to the Golden Arches only happened once every couple of weeks or so. And it was a real treat to get to go. Nowadays it is almost a daily occurrence for a lot of families. So what does that tell you? What are we trying to teach our children?
Whether we like it or not, our children are going to learn what we show them, not what we tell them. But that’s another subject.

It should also be understood that gluttony isn’t just about eating too much food, it is about excess. Anything we do to excess, is gluttony. Excessive eating, drinking, watching TV, blogging, etc. (did he say “blogging”?)

I really feel sorry for those people who consider themselves “gluttons for punishment”.

I just wanna go out and play……


my4kids said...

I was small when I was younger to and my parents always made me finish what was on my plate, my parents always said their are starving people also. I would always say "they can have my food". I was also a sloooowwwww eater. My food was always cold way to soon. I decided as a kid that I would never force my kids to finish their plates. They do have to try it but I did stick to it and they aren't ever forced to finish. I just think it teaches them to not pay attention to when they are full.

Anonymous said...

I can relate...the whole guilty thing. Parents are sometimes their children's worst enemies. My kids have never had to finish their plate, I just could never make them. They don't have any major eating hangups now either. :) Praise God!

"Drinking", of course, has been a bigger issue in their lives....I have to joke about that sometimes...I get the worst mom of the week award for just saying that!

EE said...

Excellent post!
My favorite commercial right now is the podonka-donk butt one that you mentioned.
I never make my kids finish their plates...don't want to pass on any more of my food issues to them!
You are a glutton for punishment;)

Gerbil said...

My mom made us clean our plates, but she allowed us to start with small portions. And if you wanted seconds on something you had to finish what you took. "First your firsts, then your seconds"

I didn't realize at the time that she was trying to teach us not to waste, especially as we didn't have much money (but we kids never realized that. She was skilled at making do!)

To this day, I have a terrible time going to a restaurant; I can NEVER finish any portion considered an adult sized... (shamefully that does not include PIZZA. Lord, can I pack away a pizza.)

Katrina A. said...

Like gerbil, we had to clean our plates, but we chose the portions. I don't have any problem with overeating now. Unfortunately, since baby number three, everything I eat seems to stick to me no matter what the portion size.....grrrrrr.

My kids eat so little it worries me sometimes, but I have a terrific doc who says that kids will naturally regulate their own needs in eating, so I try not to worry. So I am hoping that gluttony will be one of the few issues they don't have to deal with. I can dream at least.

That Chick Over There said...

I ALWAYS wondered how my eating the liver on my plate effected those starving children in Africa.

Dr.John said...

I also had to finish my plate.For much of my life I was very heavy.

Anonymous said...

They had such euphemistic terms back then didn't they "gluttons for punishment. They are Masochists. Mass 'o kissed
Kissed what? masses of assess probably. What gluttons those masochists are.

Real Life in South Carolina said...

Scott and I actually heard about a study that stated that little girls who eat french fries just once a week increase their chances of developing breast cancer when they get older. Here's a link to one report:

Just goes to show that we need to take care of our bodies and teach our children to do the same!