Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Over 35 years ago, my mother and I learned to make granola using a recipe from the newspaper. It was an instant hit. Family and friends loved our granola. Over the years, I perfected it, adding more ingredients, which, by the way, increased the cost of turning out a batch.

As more children came along, they got bigger and hungrier. I quickly discovered that to keep them granola-satisfied, I'd have to plan ahead. Not all of my granola ingredients are available at the grocery store. I rely on either a health-food grocery or natural food co-op to stock my pantry for granola-making.

Nuts and honey are the priciest ingredients. I found myself checking prices on these items everywhere I went, including a health food market in tiny New Hampshire, Ohio, on our way to Taylor University in Indiana. At best, one batch of granola calls for $2 worth of honey.

While it's not a complicated recipe, my granola takes some time to plan for, and with 6 people in the house, one batch lasted a maximum of three days. "Oh, this is so good, mom! It's almost gone, can you make more?"

Over the years, satisfying my family's craving for granola became a bit of a burden. I knew how they loved it, and felt guilty if the granola container sat empty. Even so, I began making it to give away. It makes a dandy gift in a mason jar, tied up with a colorful ribbon.

As the kids began to move away, of course they missed my granola. So I'd make a batch to send, especially on birthdays. Then the cost nearly doubled, factoring in the postage.

At last, almost too late, I realized it was time to teach the children how to make their own granola. I can't say that plan has worked very well, simply because it's easier to teach a child a skill while he's still hanging around the kitchen rather than living 400 miles away.

I realize I have let myself become the Granola-In-Chief. It seems the family looks to me as the only one who can supply the crunchy treat. While they could learn the skill themselves (as a couple of them have), they became so accustomed to my provision that they'll do without before getting in gear to make a batch themselves.

I like to give. It makes me feel good and needed in my kids' lives. But it's not sustainable. There comes a time when the greater good is served by requiring kids to do for themselves. It's more efficient. It's longer-lasting. It helps everyone.

My job is to teach and enable my children: not to rely on me, but on themselves. Everyone is stronger for it.

You might call it my Declaration of Independence. Sounds a lot better than Declaration of Dependence.


Lflaglor said...

Amen. Great analogy.

Lflaglor said...

But where's the granola recipe? :-)

Barb said...

Recipe coming tomorrow, Lori!

Karen Dawkins said...

Does that mean you won't make a batch to send to Nathan, just for nostalgia's sake?

Jenny Haller said...

I bought "Barb's Granola" at the Taylor store during freshman orientation in 2003. I never new I'd meet Dan a few short months later!! Granola spreads love. (And I make yours too, with a few modifications!)

Jenny Haller said...

*Knew not new! (duh)

Barb said...

Karen ... only if he plans to make his own, and open a small business selling the granola. He has to figure out how to finance his business: no bail-outs from the Granola-in-Chief!