Pancakes and Pudding
"Mommy, Chalsey’s taking all the Lego land."
“Well, Davin always gets the best pieces.” My nine and 10 year olds came whining to me again.
Kristy, my five year old was crying. "It's not fair. I want to build an airplane, but they don't want to."
This had been going on all afternoon. It was one thing after another. No matter how many toys they had, they couldn't have fun. Something was missing. I shot up a quick prayer for a good illustration that would help us to get a grip on the problem.
"Who likes plain, dry pancakes?" I said. The kids froze and looked surprised at my sudden change of subject. "Who likes plain pancakes with nothing on it, just dry, get stuck in your throat, pancakes?"
"Not me." They all cried in unison.
"I see. So when you asked me to make pancakes yesterday, you didn't really want just pancakes. You wanted pancakes and pudding." It was the day after Father's Day. We had had a special breakfast of hot pancakes smothered in creamy, cold, white chocolate milk pudding. It was a melt-in-your-mouth treat.
"So when you say you want to play with toys, you don't really mean you want just plain toys, -any more than you want just plain pancakes. It was the pudding that made it special. The pudding is like your friendship. Without the friendship the game is no fun. Even if you got every Lego piece you wanted, it would still be dry. No fun. What makes it special is when you all play the game together. That's when you really have a good time. You need pancakes and pudding."
The children understood the illustration perfectly and decided to play a game together. It worked like a miracle. We were stuck in the house for the next few days due to bad weather, but no one seemed to mind. The children played with every game and toy in the house. Any time tempers ran hot I'd remind the kids that the pancakes were getting a little dry and needed some more pudding.
As I thought more about it later, I realized how often we try to eat our pancakes dry. "I need to do this! I have to get that done!" We put such an importance on things we need to do that we forget that pancakes aren't really pancakes without a topping. We can't let our work, or our play, crowd out the friendships around us that make our lives complete.
I learned a good lesson from my children that rainy weekend. I sometimes work so hard to accomplish the goals I set for myself, and view everything else as a distraction. I want plain, uninterrupted work time. Then I wonder why my work feels so dry and unenjoyable.
So if you find that your day is crowded with worries, stress, or work. If you feel you have lost that spark in your life, or are just feeling a little dry; perhaps all you need is a heaping scoop of sweet, fresh pudding to make your day complete.