I might go so far as to say we are especially a treat culture. I think it has something to do with drinking neither alcohol nor coffee and we want some other way to dress up or round out a meal. I mean, think of all the calories we save by not having those drinks. (Which then I promptly tend to blow on a chocolate dessert of my choosing.)
But I digress.
Yes, we are a food culture. Very often this translates to bringing snacks to classes on Sunday. We bring them to be nice. Sometimes we bring them to induce participation. Sometimes we bring them to stem the tide of anarchy among the younger ranks (you Primary teachers know of what I speak). And whether that means we're serving sweets or savories, I'll say, while it needs to be checked and shouldn't be expected, I think treats on Sunday can be a good thing. In my own life, I’ve noticed that providing a little treat has made me more likely to pay attention, create a bond, and generally be happier than completely avoiding the practice.
Now, before the opposition gets too riled up, allow me to acknolwedge the problems:
-Sometimes kids come to expect treats every week.-Sometimes kids leave the class they're meant to attend to go to a class with treats.-Sometimes non-treat-bringing teachers feel obligated to bring treats, or feel bad if they don't.-Some teachers might feel treats distract students from the doctrine (although this can be easily avoided).-Building managers dislike food in the Church building because it can encourage pests. I can’t find in the Handbook if it mentions anything about food in class. (If you know of it, please, leave a reference to it in the comments.)
Depite these potential problems, I think snacks can be a great tool—especially for the youth. Allow me to provide an example: Every week, my husband takes homemade cookies to the deacon’s quorum as a reward if they bring their Duty to God manuals. Each quorum member has to bring his manual in order for everyone to get the cookies. I make the cookies; it takes time, but I'm happy to provide that for them because I know they appreciate it. They now bring their manuals every week, and through this and other traditions they have implemented (like stops by McDonald's for the 99 cent menu after temple trips), the deacon's quorum has become a tight-knit, involved group that cares about one another's success.
It comes down to a principle of care: those who bring something for the class show physically that they took extra time and care for the class; they thought about the class for more than the 30 minutes it took to prepare the lesson, and I think the class appreciates that. In that vein, I think treats are simply the easiest way for teachers to show their class that they think of and care for them on days other than Sunday.
But it's not the only way it can be done (and I'm not talking about bringing vegetables instead). No, your investment of time doesn't need to involve food. I've seen teachers create object lessons or do attention activities that they clearly put time into—and the class responded.
What do you think? Are treats on Sunday worthwhile? Or should they be avoided? Let me know in the poll below.
I know we're all busy. Sometimes snacks aren't practical—either for the class or the teacher. But sometimes they are.