By Kendall Vogts
On a recent trip home to celebrate my parents’ 33rd wedding anniversary, I was talking with my mom while she was baking in the kitchen. With the season of everything homemade, rich, sweet, salty, mashed, and creamy upon us, I am reminded of my experiences in the kitchen with my mom and older sisters.
I am the youngest of three girls, and have never been the one heading up the goings on in the kitchen, but I have always been the one to help when asked, ask questions about the recipes, listen to the conversations going on, and watch, very impressed, as the older women in my life bring life to the simplest ingredients.
Today, I like to think that I am pretty handy around the kitchen. I like to try new recipes, make tasty treats and meals for my husband, and am excited to take part in the baking during our family get-togethers. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I am reminded of how continually blessed I am by those experiences in the kitchen. I also feel extremely blessed to have grown up in the location and decade that I did. It was a much simpler time, even though there were many technological advances taking place, and crimes being committed, I was unaware of these goings on.
That is unlike the experiences of my students that I see on a daily basis. They grow up in a rough area, the advances in technology, crime, and issues of society are daily a part of their lives. There is not one “issue” that my students are blind to. They live them and breath them. So when I compare my heartfelt kitchen experiences to the ones they might have, I am saddened.
Many of my students cook out of necessity. They are the “adults” and must provide for younger siblings. Others of my students will never know of the homemade delicacies that I have tasted because of a lack of family funds or a lack of passed down cooking knowledge from past generations. Finally, the conversations that my students witness in their households will not create fond memories. They are witnesses to fighting, cursing, and problems of their guardians are placed on their shoulders.
I want nothing more than for my students to have beautiful memories of the holiday seasons. At school, I attempt to do my part to help them feel happy, cared for and loved. I know that scattered in the students that I have mentioned previously, there are students who will have experiences like I did. Keep this in mind as you enter this time of thankfulness. We are blessed by the time we have with our loved one,s and memories that might be labeled as simple or unnecessary to create, really carry a heavier weight than you would image. Take the time. Let your kids help when you need it. Let them ask questions about the recipes. Let them listen to happy conversations, and let them watch, very impressed, as you bring life to simple ingredients.
Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to the luckiest man alive, Wichita Family Magazine publisher Todd Vogts.