The #1 Rule for My Kids

There are lots of rules in our house. Sit at the table when you are eating. Don’t stand on the printer (yes, this had to become a rule). And of course the ubiquitous “follow directions.” But as LP gets older and I find myself wanting him to understand the principles behind the rules. We eat at the table because running around the house with food in you mouth is a choking hazard. We don’t stand on the printer because it could break. And there are tons and tons of other things I tell you to do when we are out in the world because, well . . .

I don’t want you to act like an asshole.

I suppose if I were to be more eloquent I would call this something like “building empathy.” But, come on. Why do I tell my kids they can’t run around the store and get in people’s way? Because that is an asshole thing to do. Why do they need to say “please” and “thank you?” Because I don’t want them to be a rude and demanding asshole.

#1ruleWe all know assholes. They are the ones who cut you off on the highway. They are the ones who interrupt you in a meeting. They are the ones who act like they are way more important than anyone else in the room.

We all have been the recipient of someone else’s asshole-ness, and we have probably displayed some asshole tendencies ourselves. Fundamentally, I think we slip into this problematic role when we are too focused on ourselves and start to feel like our needs supersede the needs of others. I’m not saying that I want my kids to always be self-sacrificing. But I do want them to be aware of the way their actions affect others, and act accordingly.

So when I tell my kids what they can and can’t do, I try to explain why. Lately I’ve been telling 5-year-old L to look around him and see what other people are doing so that he can start to think about how his actions might affect those people for good or for ill. I’m trying to help both kids think about the “golden rule” and how they can treat others the way they want to be treated. I know these are important lessons, and I just hope they internalize them rather than behave “well” purely to avoid a punishment.

And maybe someday, when they are much older, if they start doing something overly rude, or arrogant, or problematic, I won’t have to launch into a whole explanation of why that behavior is unacceptable. Maybe all I will have to say is:

“Don’t be an asshole.”

Recipe: Vegan Nachos!

One of my favorite bar foods used to be a platter of loaded nachos. However, since now going out to a bar is a much more rare occasion (kids) and a plate of loaded nachos out is even more rare (vegan) I needed another way to get my salty, spicy, snack kick. Enter loaded vegan nachos! While the jalapeños are technically optional, I can’t imagine nachos without them!

Easy Vegan Nachos

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

Ingredients
About 2 cups of tortilla chips, spread out on a plate
1/3 cup of canned, vegetarian, black refried beans (I use Whole Foods brand)
2 TB canned, sliced jalapeño
1/4 cup sliced black olives
3 TB prepared salsa
1/2 an avocado, chopped
Vegan cheddar cheese (optional)
Vegan sour cream (optional)

Directions:
1) Top the chips with the beans and cheese (if using) and spread them out as much as possible.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
2) Spread the rest of the ingredient on top to your liking.  Cheese is really not needed, especially if you love the jalapeño kick!

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