At dinnertime, when my older children were younger, any food that looked out of the ordinary or different would immediately provoke a comment such as “I don’t like that” or “can I have cereal instead?” Of course we would always respond “you’ve never even tried it so how do you know you don’t like it” and then a battle would happen with frustrated parents and crying kids. Since I like to cook and often tried new recipes this was an ongoing occurrence. One day we got smart and introduced the “no thank you bite.” If someone didn’t want to try something new, or even some of the suspicious looking foods I fixed that weren’t new, they would have to take a “no thank you bite.” One bite and then if they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to eat it-no snide comments or probing questions asked. At first it was kind of a battle to get them to go along with it but as they tried things and said they didn’t like them, we just thanked them for trying the item and let the matter drop. The process became much easier, and the battles and coaxing stopped and we found that about 90% of the time they ended up liking the new food they tried. This became reinforcing, so it was no longer difficult to get them to try something new and of course as other kids came along this system was already in place and followed their siblings example. My kids became adventurous eaters even trying new and different things in restaurants, sometimes trying things that looked even suspicious to me! I knew we had been successful with this when one day a friend of mine observed “your kids will eat anything!”
When I was a freshman at BYU I met this young woman who in looking at her was not very attractive. She was scrawny with poor posture. Her hair was cut in an a very unflattering way and it was frizzy and very apparent she didn’t know what to do with it. She had white spots on her front teeth and scars all over her face from acne. She was what someone might call homely. One day she introduced me to her fiancé who was tall, good looking and even dressed nicely and I remember thinking “what does he see in her?” As I got to know her I noticed how kind she was, how she was the first to volunteer to help someone and how positive she was. She always had kind things to say about others. She was truly a joy to be around and I grew to respect her greatly. As I got to know her fiancé I realized he was pretty corny, and not very bright so it was difficult to have a conversation with him and he seemed a little self-absorbed. One day when I was working with her on a project he came over and when I saw the two of them together I remember thinking “what does she ever see in him” and then of course laughed at myself when I realized the complete turn around that I had down. Sometimes when I first meet people it’s easy to see only their outward appearance, and I have found that I’m often wrong in my judgement of them, for good or bad. She taught me what true beauty is.