Jake Frost recently moved from the city to the country, where he learned the secret of getting kids to eat vegetables.
After a lifetime of city dwelling, I moved to the country three days ago. Already I feel I’ve grown closer to the earth, more in tune with turning of the seasons, more organically intuiting the rhythms of nature, coming at last to understand the deep mysteries of growing things.
For example, I have finally learned the secret of vegetables.
More specifically (and more importantly), the secret of getting kids to eat vegetables.
Lean closer and I’ll whisper it to you.
It is this: goats.
You see, we now have goats for neighbors, and the friendly people who live at “the goats’ house” told the kids they could feed the goats veggies whenever they wanted to.
Our newly stocked fridge was soon depleted, with veggies flying from its climate-controlled shelving faster than Toto in a Kansas tornado.
“Stop!” I cried, deciding to deal with this new calamity the way I deal with most new calamaties: by making a new rule. “From hence forth,” I decreed, “You can only feed the goats left-over vegetables.”
The green things in our fridge, after all, were purchased for our kids, not the goat kids.
However, it quickly became apparent that this rule alone was not sufficient. As so often happens, one rule begets more rules, as great specificity becomes required.
Because my children always seek the “space between,” the “wiggle room.” I think they will all grow-up to become tax lawyers.
They now went to the fridge, pulled out a carrot, eyed it with a sideways glance, and announced: “I don’t think I want to eat this after all.”
For, they explained when questioned on this dubious practice, they had thought they wanted to eat it, but now decided against it. Which, they reasoned, was sufficient to re-classify the carrot as a left-over, since it was now left-over from their possible consumption of said carrot.
Not so, I informed them. The essence of being a left-over, the key distinguishing characteristic left-over-ness, is that it is the bit which remains after all else was eaten. The act of eating is what makes a left-over, not the intention — supposed or genuine — upon cracking open the refrigerator door.
How much has to be eaten, they wanted to know? Most of it, I answered. Only that which is a stub, core, or rind, can be a left-over.
And everything must pass parental inspection as a certified left-over before it can be fed to the goats (see how the rules continue multiplying?).
At last fenced-in a regulatory corral with all wiggle-room removed, my children complied. And began consuming copious quantities of veggies, presenting me with the refuse remaining from their healthy eating, which I would then approve as bona fide left-overs that they could then feed to the goats.
Goats, children, and parents were all happy.
So there you have it: your tip for the day is that if you want your kids to eat veggies, get goats.
Or even better, get neighbors with goats.
Which has been the biggest surprise for me: having neighbors with goats. While we were urban dwellers, my kids wanted a hamster. I’ve heard that when God closes a door He opens a window, and I guess when He says no to a hamster sometimes He gives a goat. If you can let the Holy Spirit lead, it can be surprising the places you find yourself led!
Copyright 2020 Jake Frost
Image: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY SA 4.0
About the Author
Jake Frost is an attorney, husband, and father of four grade-school aged kids. He’s the author of five books: Catholic Dad: (Mostly) Funny Stories of Faith, Family, and Fatherhood; Catholic Dad 2: More (Mostly) Funny Stories of Faith, Family, and Fatherhood; From Dust to Stars: Poems by Jake Frost; Victory! Poems by Jake Frost; and a children’s book he also illustrated called The Happy Jar.