Why The Table is the Family Headquarters

We want to talk to you guys today about how do you deal with picky eaters? And so different families struggle with this in different ways. Sometimes kids have almost no trouble eating whatever you put in front of them. Kelsey, who’s here, she ate a fish eyeball when she was in Israel with us. She has no problem eating. A lot of our kids were not picky, but sometimes our kids were, and we have five kids and so we’ve definitely dealt with this.

So there’s a lot of different ways you can handle this. I think the first question that you need to ask, and oftentimes gets skipped, is what kind of family culture do you want to create? And I think if your goal is to create the most individual culture you possibly can, which is inevitable if you have a really small family, but tough if you have a lot of kids. But if your goal is to create a lot of individual, then of course you’re going to bend around a lot of the pickiness oftentimes by default of your kids.

But if you want your family culture to be one where, hey, we can go over to other people’s houses, we can go to other cultures and other countries, and whenever we’re out there in the world, our kids can quickly adapt. That was just something that was a really big deal to April and I when we were raising our family. We saw pickiness in eating, not necessarily as a moral problem, but it was a family culture collision. We just didn’t want to see our culture get dominated by the pickiness of one of our kids. That was something we really wanted to train our kids out of.

And so there’s lots of different ways to deal with this. Things like, really encouraging your kids to just try everything on the plate at least once. I think that’s really important. Introducing your kids to lots of different textures, lots of different flavors.

One of the things our … One of our pediatrician said when one of our kids was really having a hard time eating vegetables. He just told us, he’s like, “Hey, just absolutely put a ton of butter on it. Make it awesome. And then you start to scale back on the salt.” I was really surprised when he said that and he’s like, “No, no, no. Kids can process a lot of that junk early.” And of course, today people are all into almost all fat diets. God only knows what good things to eat are.

Yeah, put the kids on the Keto diet.

That’s right. Whatever you’re, yeah, whatever the fad diet is when you’re watching this or listening to this right now is probably going to be different. But, yeah, I would say try different things to really help your kids overcome that. Be aware of what kind of culture you want and then really work with your family to embrace eating lots of different kinds of food, if that’s the kind of family culture you want to do. But how about you guys?

Yeah, I’ll add a couple of things. So it hasn’t been a huge deal for us, I think for a couple of reasons. One, I think we put things before our very young kids before they even realize what they are. So our kids are eating real, we’re big on real food. So I mean, we don’t get super caught up on what’s the right diet and what’s this, but it needs to be real. Like actually came from the earth, and something that lived, not a machine.

And so, because of that, yeah, we just did out young and kids are eating avocados and fruits and vegetables and I think that there’s a huge conversation to be had of, the dinner table is telling. If they don’t want to eat, if they don’t even want eat fruit, which that’s even particularly popular now, which is a natural sugar and exceptionally sweet, then to me that just shows they’re probably getting so much of that somewhere else that this actually looks weak. When you’re not eating a ton of sugar, fruits goes through the roof with sugar. Right?


And so that’s a huge one. Another one is, studies have shown you need to eat, adults and kids, need to try something 10 to 12 times before they can actually, really understand if they like it or not. And tend to change after 10 or 12 times. And then the last thing I’ll say, and end with this is, at the end of the day, like Jeremy said, it’s not a moral issue.

It’s like, some people are picky and some people aren’t. And some adults are and some aren’t. And give your kids some grace because you don’t like foods either. But what I will say is the table, the actual table, and then the metaphor that that is, the actual icon that is and the symbol that that is, is deeply important.

And so for us, we take almost everything a little extra serious at the table, because for us that’s where we do our Bible time. For us, that’s where we sing. For us, that’s where we talk about life. For us, that’s where we have our family conversations, which our kids are two and four, so that really just means fart noises and nothing else really besides that. But we’re setting the tone, and so all I’m saying with that is, take the table very seriously.

Now, not like bring down a hammer on it, but I just know for us, like you said, if the pickiness of an individual is actually rising to the level of taking away the sacredness of the table and the beauty of it and the fun of it and the joy of it, that’s when you need to really address it. And so that’s what I say, is have grace on them.

There’s a lot of flex, there’s a lot of different things, but make sure the table … Don’t be afraid to make the table … It takes a lot more work, but don’t be afraid to make the table a season of maybe a year or two where it almost feels just like practice. Because I want this to be the thing that actually we get fruit from for 80 years. You know what I mean?

Yeah. Yeah. I feel, it’s a great point. The family culture emanates from that table. That’s why in ancient societies, the father would sit at the head of the table and the children would be extremely sensitive to the way that the dad was acting. And a lot of times we interpret that today as, this mean patriarch who is up there, super selfish, and that was certainly happening in a lot of those cultures. But another thing that was happening was that the whole family was being discipled in the culture that the father wanted for the home.

And I hope that our homes are just fun and exciting and full of life, but they also need to have a unique culture. And especially you as the dad, don’t be afraid to express that culture at the table. And it starts with that 18 month old who’s sitting in a high chair trying to figure out how much attention to grab, what to do with this food, and it’s a really critical time. I love putting those kids, during that season, always right next to me.

Yeah, exactly.

It’s my chance to train them in the kind of culture that we want as a home. And there’s balance there of love and sometimes being strict, but always being clear about the kind of culture and family culture that you’re really wanting to train your kids up in.

Latest Episode

Listen To Our Latest Podcast



Start Building a
Multigenerational Family Team

Live events







Family scouting report