I Figured out Why Kids Don’t Eat the Crust

Lessons from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich


There are many things that kids do that confound us. As a parent, I often look at my kids sideways, wondering why they thought it was a good idea to see mud and head straight for it, why they think that dipping cheetos in chocolate milk will make them taste better, or why they diligently avoid the crust of any sandwich they eat.

Today it hit me…

They’re Going Straight For The Flavor

I was standing there watching my daughter eat a bagel with peanut butter, getting it all over her face. After I had wiped her face a couple times, I gave up – waiting for her to finish before I went in with another wipe. As she chomped away, her eyes were focused; she was determined to get to the heart of the semi-melted peanut butter bagel that held her attention like no preschool teacher ever could.

All she could think about in that moment was how good that peanut butter was going to be and again how good it was while she was eating it. Nothing else. She could have had peanut butter from her lips to her ear lobes and she would still be happy.

Which led me to my second realization…

They Don’t Stress The Mess

A couple days ago my oldest had jelly from his pb&j on his ear and either had no idea or didn’t care. His first priority was not making sure he looked good or wasn’t messy, he was enjoying the moment. He wasn’t really avoiding the crust of his sandwich, he was just going straight for the flavor, and not stressing the mess. No inner voice saying “Look at your face man!! You look like you rubbed an uncrustable all over it!”.

He was all in on that pb&j…not a care in the world about the somewhat superfluous things that adults care about.

Two Lessons From A PB&J

Think about those two things.

  • Go straight for the flavor
  • Don’t stress the mess

How many places in your adult life do you think you could apply those two lessons? The next time you plan a family fun night…a trip…a kid’s sleepover?

Maybe it’s just me, but I think that as we gain more responsibility, it becomes harder for us to let go – because we know that we have to do the “adulting” on the backend of any event, big or small – sandwich or family vacation. However, thinking about everything you have to clean up or do afterwards often takes away from your ability to enjoy the moment. Hell, sometimes I end up not enjoying it at all…I don’t get any flavor from the peanut butter and jelly of life! That’s no way to live.

So what do you do?

You step back, self-reflect, decide to change, then change. Next time you take your kids out you go straight for that flavor and don’t stress the mess.

I know that I may be stretching my illustration a bit…but I think next time I eat a pb&j…I won’t eat the crust.

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