Sometimes the best memories are of common comforts like the sight of your dad swatting smoke over a grill, the smell of savory steaks sizzling, and the heat of the fire on your face. Last night, as I lit up our grill, I watched my son’s fascination at the blaze created by the lighter fluid. I remembered my own dad at the grill, as he was most nights in the summer. I remembered running around playing Wiffle® ball in the backyard as the sun went down. And I remembered my dad teaching me how to cook steaks, chicken, burgers, you name it. For me and my dad, the grill was a bonding experience and one of the sweetest memories of my childhood.
It never occurred to me that we were creating a memory or a bond. Grilling dinner was not a big deal. It didn’t take any effort or planning. But being outside, playing catch between flipping burgers, relaxing without the pressure of homework is a summer memory that is triggered by the smell of smoke and the sizzle of meat. Watching my own son last night, I smiled. He didn’t know we were creating a memory or that he was learning to cook. He was just enjoying being outside with his dad and the summer smell of comfort food.
There are more reasons you should grill this summer with your kids, I’ve listed a few below.
1. Grilling is a skill and a money saver.
If I didn’t know how to grill after college as a single man, I may not have eaten. I couldn’t afford to eat out. Grilling was always my failsafe. I grilled all year long. Yes, I was the guy in my boots on my patio grilling with snow on the ground. That skill was essential to my survival.
Gas, flammable liquids, and fire are not things to play with. Cooking can be fun, but you must be safe. And you must teach your kids to be safe as well. Understanding the consequences of their actions around the grill to themselves, and their family is a great lesson in responsibility.
Anytime you include your kids in doing something adults do, you show them you believe in them. 3. Build Self-esteem.
Anytime you include your kids in doing something adults do, you show them you believe in them. When they know you believe in them, it encourages them to believe in themselves even more.
4. Healthy eating.
Grilling is better than frying or microwaving. You have the opportunity to expose your kids to a variety of meals which are healthier than the traditional processed and pre-packaged foods they may eat on a regular basis.
5. Foster creativity.
I have to be honest and admit that I experiment on the grill. I always have and always will. Allowing your kids to experiment with different seasoning combinations and different foods may not always turn out good for your taste buds, but it is worth it. They will learn what works and what doesn’t work. Kind of like life.
Sound off: What are simple memories that you have with your dad or are creating with your kids?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Would you like to help me with the grilling for our next family cook out?”