Challenging the Child in You

growth perspective

I was a picky eater as a child, and I carried that into my early years of adulthood. When things got more serious dating Michelle, and she noticed this, I explained my food preferences as "simple."

But there came a point as an adult when I realized I was missing out on tons of food that I wouldn't eat. So I decided to challenge myself to revisit different foods and decide if the adult version of me could enjoy them. What I found shocked me. I could learn to enjoy the vast majority of it.

Today when my kids argue that some particular food is disgusting, I'll often gleefully take a giant bite of it and show them my enjoyment. They'll even complain about the smell of my meal at Smashburger when I order the Brussels sprouts instead of fries (they are delicious).

Our five kids are each on different parts of the picky spectrum themselves. Some of them eat just like the younger version of myself while some of them eat things I never touched as a child. But it's not uncommon for me to lovingly encourage them that they have the power at any point to rethink their views of food and see if they change.

I've found we do the same things with ideas that we do with food. In our early years, we decide which ones we like and don't like and often carry them into adulthood with little thought. This is especially true when it comes to our opinions of God. A healthy adult should be able to recognize beliefs and then see them with fresh eyes from their current point of view. This can be more of a challenge for those of us raised in church as we formed many of our views about God when we understood a lot less about the world.

But here's the funny thing: even when we commit to this process we will often be unaware of the parts we've left unexamined. Just this week I discovered there were raisins in something I ate and my mind immediately went back and told me how gross that was. That's because I hated them as a kid. I found myself recognizing this thought and mentally challenging it.

  • Raisins come from grapes. I like grapes (especially certain grapes)
  • Raisins are dried fruit. I like dried fruit.
  • I'm having this reaction because of my childhood thoughts. I'm an adult now.

And just like that, I found a way to enjoy what I ate.

But the fact remains that the raisins snuck up on me. It reminded me to constantly be willing to challenge my opinions in other areas too. Otherwise, we defend our immature thinking as adults without ever realizing the absurdity of it.

As a result, it seems more Christians are indoctrinated rather than educated. Certainty results in the former but growth results in the latter. Indoctrinated people take what they've learned and defend it at all costs. Educated people take what they've learned and challenge it against what they're learning now.

Photo by Anshu A on Unsplash

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