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How Can Parents Have A Happy Meal?

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In this episode of More To The Story, Lucas Kitchen will draw on some nostalgia to talk about childhood joys, such as the McDonald’s Happy Meal. He will also give an encouragement for parents who are struggling to make their meals happy. #mcdonalds #happymeal #adulthappymeal #80s #90s 


What’s a happy memory from you childhood. 

For me, it was the happy meal. 

Happy meal!

What a promise.

After all, what’s the most discontent 25 minutes of every day? Family meal time.

So in 1979, when the happy meal was introduced parents everywhere gasped in disbelief, “Can a meal really be happy.” 

Generations flocked to the MacDonalds for a piece of that impossible promise. 

Remember what it felt like as a kid getting a happy meal?

The pure joy. The incredible anticipation. The overawed sense of wonder at what toy you might receive. 

The unmeasurable disappointment when that mold injected toy broke into its constituent parts, 13 seconds into your gentle interaction with it. 

Then, to the play ground. It was an unpadded, spire of Iron amusement equipment, with rusted bolts, all mounted in an unforgiving concrete slab, outside under the unrelenting nuclear Texas sun. Sweat, blood, and tears were part of the fun. We called it the concussion factory. 

Now that was happiness. 

Ever think about this? “one day you ordered a Happy Meal for the last time and you didn't even know it” That’s a direct quote from MacDonal’s Facebook page. 

Way to rub it in Micky Dees. Remind me that the last time I felt real joy was my fourth birthday under the Golden Arches. 

Joke’s on them though.

I mean, really kids are so hard to please, you have to give them super sugared up color drinks, a toy, and 20 minutes on play place, to make them happy. 

Adults are different. 

Sheesh. I’m planning to eat lunch today. I’m really happy about it. I don’t even know what I’ll have. I just get really happy when it’s eating time. I’m happy thinking about eating time. 

For adults, the word meal is a synonym for the word happy, so happy meal literally translates to happy happy.

For me any meal is a happy meal. Except… The only thing that makes any meal, not a happy meal, well, kids. 

I love my kids I would die for my kids, but I wish they would just go away when it’s my happy meal time. 

Complaining, crying, sulking, is what I do every night after family meal time. 

I love my kids but they can make it hard to have a happy meal. 

Ok, so why am I talking about this.  What prompted this monologue on happy meals?

McDonal’s recently announced they are doing a limited time happy meal for adults. They’re including a nostalgic toy from your childhood, like hamburger, grimace, Ronald, or Birdie. It’s meant to bring back a piece of the fun we felt so long ago. 

So, great. I’m just wondering If it’s really a “happy” meal, what they’re going to do with my kids while I eat. 

All the grumbling complaints aside, I haven’t been completely honest. While there are instances when our meal times are difficult, some of our best moments have happened around the dinner table. My daughter has invented what she calls “childhood night” where the kids ask the adults about their childhood. We usually share a lot of laughter, and talk about our day. 

The guideline that I try to keep in mind about having a happy meal together is this: It’s not about food, whether they eat it or not, it’s about family. We need those moments of bonding time. Even when my toddler is screeching so loud the paint is peeling off the ceiling, there is a way to make that time valuable. Stay calm, engage with the kids, show them you love them even if they can’t finish those green beans. 

Above all, make the most of the time. We have such a slim sliver of moments before we release our children into the world. We need to make use of every moment we can, to prepare them for the world they face. Think about what Paul said, 

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Eph 5:15-16

A family meal is one of those moments we need to make the most of. I’d like to amend the MacDonald’s quote I shared with you earlier. 

One day, you kids will have their last family dinner with you, and they won’t even know it. Make that time count, aim for meaningful meals, and you’ll be happy you did.




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