I have young children, and young children are notorious for picky eating. I get that, and I promise I am not the spinach drill sergeant. But you should have seen the stunned expressions — our supper table was oddly momentarily silent, even — when I announced, after a child pointed out she did not like the cuisine, “It is OK to eat food you do not like. You don’t have to like it; you just have to eat it.”
Wha?! Eat food I do not like? Why, yes, dear children, for this
is the nutritious fare provided. Now eat it or get hungry enough that you begin to wonder if you might not, in fact, like it — then eat it.
Before I go all hypocrite, though, I have to admit I have this “like” problem, too. It’s only been in the last few years I have begun to address it in myself.
Children will do that to you. I mean, what mother, really, can say, “I don’t like to change diapers, so I won’t do it?” Many parenting tasks are fairly unseemly. You just do them because you love your children and because they need done. Like them (the tasks, not the children!) or not.
Now, on the flip side: Hitting middle age did make me want to evaluate certain aspects of my life with “like” being a factor. To wit: Why stay in a career if you don’t like it? Or work really hard at relationships if “like” is not, even, mutual? I had to find a fitness regimen I genuinely liked — or else I would not maintain it — and I have some wiggle room to buy soap, socks and even underwear I like.
But whether or not I would click that analogous “like” button for any given task, project or, even, person is no longer a primary factor in my decision-making. In fact, I’m learning to live with the “like” factor a distant fifth or sixth consideration in most things.