Trying not to be a McFamily

I remember being in college and watching a video in one of my business classes of the genius of Ray Kroc, the man who made McDonald’s the international fast food icon it is today. One of the things I remember about the video is that Ray believed in efficiency. Part of his overall genius was finding ways to streamline the process of providing food to customers. mcdonalds-3One of those was the multi-mixer milkshake machine (which Ray was a salesman for before buying out the McDonald’s brothers), which could mix multiple milkshakes at the same time. And that is what McDonald’s and all fast food restaurants are known for today…efficiency and speed. In fact, these values have seeped into every part of American life – how we work, how we play, how we live at home, and even how we parent!

Something that we’re learning in raising our kids is that trying to be a McFamily doesn’t really work. When I interact with our 2 ½ year old with efficiency and speed in mind, I am usually thwarted. Things such as eating supper, taking a bath, reading books, getting ready for bed, and playing ‘chase me’ are not meant to be efficient and speedy. They are times for me to engage meaningfully with him, and in turn I learn that slow down my pace of life so that I can enjoy the moment we’re in.

The best example is bedtime. Isaiah is now in his big boy bed, but staying his big boy bed is not always easy for him. I would like to just tell him to go to bed, and be done. But that’s not how it works. Bedtime entails stories, prayers, songs, and laying beside him as he gets sleepy. I don’t usually stay until he falls asleep, but taking extra time to be with him, makes a huge difference in how the rest of the night will go. If I rush him into bed with threats of time-outs and spankings, it makes him want to stay up all the more. If I take the time to do it right, focus on being with him, and embrace those moments we get together, then we’re both a lot happier and sleep much better.

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