Another small incident over dinner inspired this very short but apt insight.
I was asked try out the dish of mushrooms cooked by mom. Those who know me from young know i’m not partial to mushrooms. I find (in particular) Chinese mushrooms to be a very foul smelling ingredient and the texture is also not without it’s faults. Furthermore i find the thought of eating something that grows on rotting compost hardly palatable.
Needless to say i bluntly said i would not have any, which led me to ponder the motivation behind my reaction.
As a kid i would vehemently resist mushrooms of all forms, regardless of how much i was encouraged to try them or (more often) chastised by my parents for being a fussy eater. Funnily whenever i went over to a friends house, or later whilst studying overseas, i never protested as loudly when mushrooms were served. Sure i still do not enjoy them as others do nor appreciate them much but as a guest it was probably politeness that restricted my behaviour and kept me in check.
Ironically this polite restraint in the face of guests was what led me to start eating prawns, yet another type of food i had avoided for most of my childhood. It was my childish pride that bound me in that state and prevented me from eating them.
[Having said that i still maintain stoically that it was the freshness and juiciness of Australian prawns that aided my renewed interest in prawns. Prior to that i had just been subject to an endless stream of their ‘terrible’ singaporean cousins. But i digress…]
The other thing that held me in my stubborn charade was that my parents (or more often one parent) would never listen to my complaints for why i did not desire to eat mushrooms or prawns. My comments were always cast aside as ‘nonsense’ which only strengthened my resolve to never give them the satisfaction of seeing me relent.
I hate to be proven wrong. I still find it hard to admit that prawns do taste fine, that i am ok with eating them and that i was wrong to toss aside so rudely all the prawns that were generously placed on my plate as a child. however with mushrooms i still find them challenging to my daily palate. I don’t mind the occasional fresh button mushroom but chinese mushrooms still make me pause before i put them in my mouth.
The point i was trying to make is this:
What i would really have appreciated as a child, and might have even helped in me overcoming my stubbornness, was for my opinions on what i like to eat or not eat to be heard and acknowledged. They were not ‘nonsense’ nor were they the mindless chatter of a simpleton. I had very real and valid reasons for not wanting to eat fungi, mollusks and crustaceans (in a nutshell: gross, gross & difficult) and i made my stand very clear.
I admit that i had my faults too. I was too proud to admit that i was wrong and that dictated my actions and clearly limited my enjoyment and created a fissure in my relationship with my parents.
But in the end i also believe that parents need to listen to their kids and sometimes be there to correct their misconceptions, take away their fears and really guide their children to a right relationship with them.
sounds like some real heavy stuff and i can see that i’m starting to pile on the responsibilities for myself should i [God willing] become a father myself. Only then i hope that i have the strength, wisdom and grace to listen to my children.