The Five Minute Rule (and Twenty Chews Per Bite)

The Five Minute Rule (and Twenty Chews Per Bite)

The Five-Minute Rule

The five-minute rule works great for kids whose eyes are bigger than their stomach.

You know the kid who is still hungry and wants seconds or thirds – and then ends up being too full to finish?  It works for him.

You know the kid who, once he finishes, he’s stuffed?  It works for him.

Miserably uncomfortable is not a fun place to be whether you’re a kid or an adult.

This five-minute rule works for adults as well. It’s a great way to test the stomach and see how hungry we really are.

I used to implement this rule when our half-dozen were at home and some kids kept piling on the food, trying to hurry and get seconds before others could nab it all. It worked well then and helped all of us to stop and think before we piled on seconds. [I am not naming names, but we all know who they are.]

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 The “Twenty Chews” rule.

The twenty chews per bite rule guarantees kids (and adults) will take more time while eating.

When there are only so many pieces of Domino’s pizza in the box, it seems that some kids thought they’d get more if they stuffed the food down the chute quicker than the younger ones.

In those situations, the “20 Chews per Bite” rule was enforced. Take as big a bite of pizza as you want, but you have to chew twenty times before you can take another bite. Oh yes, I watched and I counted. I’m a mom, and I can do that. It takes a while to chew twenty times, even if you chew fast. That helped slow the progress of consumption of a piece of pizza.

Eventually, we got away from those rules because our kids grew up and were (usually) responsible enough to decide if seconds were necessary. They were mature enough to chew their food slowly enough that they no longer fought over the last piece of pizza or who got the last fresh dinner roll.


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For this recipe, go to Recipes and search for Easy Dinner Rolls or click here.

Reinstating the Rules

When we started doing foster care, the rule book came out again and was put to good use. Especially was this helpful for kids who, before coming to our house, had to fend for themselves and never knew if there would be food for another meal.

When a child is worried about when they will be able to eat again, there is great comfort in knowing that he can take as many helpings as he wants at a meal. Requiring him to wait five minutes (or ten or fifteen) before taking subsequent helpings helps his stomach have time to begin digesting and settling all that food. This brief respite from devouring food gives time for the brain to receive and process the “full and satisfied” message from the stomach. It helps calm the frenzy of competing for the last piece of bread or pizza.

Good Reason and Good Practice

The rule applies to everyone at the table. We don’t ask anything of our kids that we don’t enforce for ourselves. Our kids loved watching the timer while we waited until our time was up to take seconds.

It’s a good practice – and a good experience – to think a little more about how much we consume. That five-minute rule is bound to make all of us a little healthier in the long run.

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Three Things Children Need Besides Food, Clothing, and Shelter



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Not a one of us would argue the fact that children need to feel loved. It is a primary need for every one of us.

Yet there are things that spell love to kids other than those four letters: LOVE. Parents and adults who truly love their kids will provide not only food, clothing, and shelter.

They will also provide safety, security, and structure.

Here’s how.

Children need Safety. 

When a child feels unsafe, he will act up. He’ll threaten or defy authority because he has no respect for authority. He also knows he can’t trust the adults in his life to keep him safe. Whether he feels emotional or physical neglect, he will feel unsafe. If he experiences emotional or physical abuse, he will feel doubly unsafe. Like an animal cornered, he will lash out, trying to hurt others before they can hurt him. Like a forlorn kitten who finally trusts its owner, a child who feels safe will be your friend.

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Children need Security.

We provide security by being consistent and by following through with our directions We provide security by having boundaries that a child cannot cross without receiving consequences. Making empty promises or drastic threats that kids know won’t be fulfilled leaves them feeling insecure. Children need to know that the relationship between their parents is solid and sure. When there is hidden discord, kids can still feel that discord. They need to know that the adults in their lives are in their corner and will not lie to them. If they can’t trust the adults in their lives to tell them the truth, to follow through, or to be consistent, then who can they trust? If they can’t trust anybody, then they will feel insecure. Like a baby swaddled in a warm blanket, a child who is secure will exhibit behavior that says he knows who he is and he knows he belongs.

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Children need Structure. 

There’s such security in knowing what to expect and from whom to expect it. When a child’s structure keeps changing, he begins to feel insecure and insignificant. Make it a high priority to provide structure. The structure your home provides might be different than mine and that’s okay. You might even need to change the structure, but if your kids know changes happen to help them, they will be okay.

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Your family’s structure will be different than other families’. You might eat at a different time and your food choices might not be the same as your neighbor’s, but children need to know they can expect things to be the same even if the sameness is different on different days.

Giving your child responsibilities gives him structure. What he does is important; his responsibility is important and he needs to feel trusted and appreciated. This provides structure to his world.

When there is a safety net surrounding your child, when there is security in knowing he can trust the adults in his life, and when there is a calm and settled routine, your child will be secure. When your child is secure, he will know he is truly loved.

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Anniversary Celebration with Oil and Ice


July could not have been hotter or more humid that summer. We were seven months late celebrating our anniversary for several reasons. Money was tight in December, and so was our schedule. Child care was also a dilemma.  We decided to wait until later.

Later finally came, in July.

“If you’ll go with me, I promise I’ll stop and buy you diet coke on ice or an ice cream cone whenever you ask,” my hubby told me.

That’s because our little blue Mazda had air conditioning that didn’t work. Its oil reservoir had a continual leak. We would be stopping to add oil as often as we would petrol. We packed a case of motor oil, opened our windows, and hit the road.

Just the two of us. How long had it been since we’d had time to ourselves – just the two of us?

Less than half an hour after we left home, we stopped for gas – and to fill up with oil. Next, we stopped for my diet coke (that was back in the days when I drank soft drinks instead of water) and Dave got his favorite: Mello Yellow.


Every time we stopped to fuel the car, Dave added oil. We didn’t care.  Our half-dozen were in the care of a reliable babysitter and we had nary a care in the world.

Footloose and fancy-free, we drove west for almost six hours, stopping along the way to stretch and cool off our backs from those seats in the car.



Three days of relaxation and fun being together. Three days of fixing only our food and our plates of food. Three days of going to bed when we felt like it and getting up because we wanted to and not because someone else was calling our name.celebration

We’ve been a lot of places since then and celebrated in a myriad of different ways. They’ve all been fun. Yet the one that makes us smile the most is the time we hit the road in a Mazda with over 200,000 miles on it with money for gas, oil, and ice.


What to Do With Resentment

resentmentAs long as the world turns, we will struggle with resentment.

It is subtle and it’s often hidden. Sometimes resentment is masked so well that we hardly recognize it for what it truly is and where it can take us.

Life isn’t fair and other people have abilities, talents, and treasures that we wish we had. Rather than being happy for them, we find ourselves filled with resentment. Some folks make poor choices, but life continues for them like a song with no seeming consequences, and we find ourselves feeling resentful. We rather expect all things to be equal, but they just aren’t. So we become resentful.

The Very Beginning

You know where this started? Way back in the Garden of Eden – with the very first family.

God gave the first sons of Adam (Cain and Abel) interests and abilities that were different from each other.  They had the same parents, same genes, same bloodline, but they had different interests, and different abilities. God is allowed to do that. The boys didn’t get to choose their talents; they came along with the genetics.

First, we have Cain, the first born and a tiller of the ground. That’s a noble profession, for God had said that man was to till the ground.  Apparently, Cain was a good farmer.  I’m sure his produce was some of the best. He was obviously the first born and liked to be in charge. I get the feeling that folks didn’t readily tell him what to do.

Abel, the second born, was the younger brother, and a keeper of the sheep. It sounds like he was the farmer and took care of the animals. I get the feeling that he was bossed some by his older brother.

Both occupations require sweat and hard work. Both boys had their calling and their interests in life. Neither gifting was better or worse than the other. The problem wasn’t the giftings that were given to each son.


The problem was that when it came time to bring an offering before the Lord, the eldest didn’t follow God’s instructions. The consequences of that choice caused resentment.

Cain pursued his own interests and brought the fruit of the land. It makes sense, really. Husbandry was his thing and it was where he was the most comfortable.  He could choose the most delectable produce and make sure it had no blemish. It wasn’t that being a farmer was wrong. The problem was that God had given specific instructions for how to bring Him an offering, and Cain failed the test.

Here comes younger brother Abel, the sheep herder.  He brings the firstlings of his flock to the Lord, and God has respect for his offering. Abel did it the way God said it had to be done. It wasn’t that Abel’s offering was better than what Cain brought. It wasn’t that Abel was a farmer.

The resentment problem wasn’t that Abel obeyed God, but that Cain didn’t.

As we are prone to do, Cain got upset. Everybody knew he was upset because the story line says that his countenance fell. Usually, when a person starts pouting, the purpose is to let others know that life isn’t fair, and that they’re upset; that they want things to be different. So Cain pouted.

God recognized the problem.

He asked Cain, “Why are you so upset? If you did well, then your offering would have been accepted. If you didn’t do well, then it’s because you sinned.” (Basically, God was saying, “Don’t be mad at Abel; he’s not the problem. You’re the problem because what you did was wrong.”)

If only Cain had listened to God. If only Cain had not resented Abel and become angry at him.

The problem started a long time before this offering episode. Could there possibly have been a previous discord between the brothers? It’s not likely that a pre-meditated murder occurred over one single incident. We sense that there was conflict, and it probably stemmed from sibling rivalry or resentment that went a long way back.

We don’t know the words exchanged between those two brothers that day in the field. All we know is that Cain talked with Abel when they were in the field. Subsequently, Cain rose up and killed Abel.

Why? What went wrong? How could a brother hate another brother so intensely that he would end his life?


It Continues Today

It is still prevalent today. Siblings, relatives, coworkers and church folks struggle with rivalry and envy. Somebody has something we wish we had, and suddenly it becomes their fault for having something we wish we had.

We do the same thing. When it’s time to follow what God says we should do, we find a way to get around it and justify our attitudes because of what someone did or didn’t do to us.

When there is discord among our siblings, cousins, coworkers, or friends, we do well to stop and ask ourselves:  What is the real problem here?

Why am I upset with him/her? Does he have gifts I don’t want to acknowledge? Why can’t I compliment her for her abilities? What makes me want to hold back from affirming? Is it because I resent his talents? Is it because she has something I don’t have? Is it because he has something I want?

If only Cain had focused on what he had done that fell short of God’s standard instead of being angry with his brother! If only Cain had recognized his own jealousy instead of being angry at someone else!


The Solution to Resentment

Each of us is faced with the choice to bless those who have what we wish we had.

Can we understand that not succumbing to our pain and disappointment will pave the way for future relationships? Can we grasp the concept that blessing someone else for what we don’t have acknowledges that God has chosen and gifted us as He desires – and chosen to gift them as well? We would do well to look beyond what we wish we had, what doesn’t seem fair, and recognize that often what seems so unfair has nothing to do with what someone else has done on their own. More often than not, what they have is the result of God’s decision to give through genetics and experiences. Can we let God be God or will we try to make Him out to be a god of our design?

One of the best ways to get beyond sibling rivalry, cousin conflict, or friend fiascos is to bless those with whom we have rivalry or conflict, especially if our conflict stems from jealousy or resentment.

What if we would stop and think about those whom we resent? What is it about them that we find so repulsive or that makes it hard to wish them well? Is it really something they have done, or is it their abilities, their talents, or their financial success? Was it because they might have made some good choices while ours were poor choices, or was it because God has gifted them in ways He hasn’t gifted us? Perhaps someone else made poor choices that affect us negatively today. How is that the fault of the people whom we resent, those who have what we can’t have? Either way, how is what happened to us their fault and a reason for our resentment?

There are days I’ve mixed a batch of bread and passed out a few loaves – not so much for the receivers as for myself.  I sensed an attitude brewing in me, and I knew if I didn’t do something positive, I’d be seething inside, building walls.


So I make myself do the hard thing. I face my resentment and I bless by giving.

Amazingly, the giving lifts the darkness. The heavy silence in the car is gone. The first day back to work with the new supervisor who got the job I wanted is smooth sailing. My neighbor waves at me again. Others see that what I do is for Jesus and not for me. I’m not in bondage to what I wish I had.

When we can learn to bless others, we are no longer rivals. When we learn to bless others who have what we wish we had, we are overcomers. When we learn to bless others, we are being Jesus to our families, to our friends, and to the world.

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