Cain, Abel, and The Sour Gummy Bears
Somewhere between the introduction to solid foods, and age 2 ½, your kids lose their minds, and stop liking real food. It’s a difficult stage to get them to see that things like chicken, eggs, fruit, and veggies….OH GOD veggies, oatmeal, and other “good for you” foods are delicious. So, in an effort to get them to eat, you start to employ shameless tactics. Things like Ranch Dressing, Ketchup, and any other sauce are given for dipping, just to get them to eat a carrot.
Well, my four year old has all but started a nationwide boycott of nutritious foods amongst the 4-Year Old population. She has quite the fondness for junk food, which I am feverishly trying to break. It’s become a bit of an unspoken war between us two. But sometimes it feels like she’s winning. And to make matters worse, my husband has decided to remain neutral, but often gives in to her when I’m not around, making it difficult to get her to eat a “real meal” when the time comes because she’s had cookies, or other nonsense. So, I have resorted to asking her what she wants for dinner to gauge her appetite in an effort to not waste food. And on the bad days, I enlist the help of my negotiators: THE SOUR GUMMY BEARS.
To all my healthy food eaters, and people whose children absolutely die for apples, and broccoli…….Don’t judge me, and I don’t want your advice. LOL…….I really do got this. This is just a phase. But until it’s over, 4 or 5 little gummy bears as a reward for eating a pile of broccoli and chicken, is my carrot on the string in front of the horses face. And I will not feel bad about it!
But this blog post is dual. Yes, it’s about Haven and her eating habits, and my hope to break them soon. But even more about her behavior on this particular day. God often teaches me so many things about him, myself, and life through my zany kids.
Haven and I had been on a stand-off, which normally happens when she doesn’t want to eat. I’d cooked spaghetti, and she wasn’t feeling it. Mind you, her 2-year old sister Cadence, is sitting there throwing it back like it was her last supper. Cadence zipped through her bowl of spaghetti and broccoli in 5 minutes flat. 15 minutes later, Haven is still sitting there acting as if I’d asked her to eat a carcass. So, I went to my “treat cupboard”, and pulled out my little army: THE SOUR GUMMY BEARS. I put a few in a cup for Cadence as a reward. And that’s when it started.
Haven sat there watching Cadence carefully place one after the other on the center of her tongue, lick their backs, the top of their heads, and smile, right before chewing them, taking her to a place of euphoria that only sour gummy bears can. Haven watched her, envy filling her eyes. She started panting. Then she began lashing out at Cadence. “I’m not playing with you anymore! I’m not your friend!” The level of jealousy that she was exhibiting was not only amazing, but amusing. I sat there watching her, and thought: This is Cain and Abel 2017.
In the bible, Cain and Abel were asked to give God a sacrifice of their first fruits, and best. Abel’s sacrifice was accepted, while Cain’s was not. In anger, Cain killed his brother as a result. Watching Haven made me think of so many things. They’d both been given the opportunity to be rewarded. The criteria for the reward was the same: Give your best sacrifice, it’s accepted. Eat your dinner, get a treat. SIMPLE. Only, the foundation for the reward was different. APPETITE. Cadence’s appetite was ready for something good for her, while Haven’s wasn’t. And because Haven was unwilling to do what was necessary, she was not rewarded, and had to sit and watch someone else benefit from what she could have done, but didn’t. This is just like so many of us. We are all given the same chances and choices in God. He really doesn’t have any favorites, and is no respecter of persons. Yet, we watch others work, sacrifice, and give, never wanting to do the same. But we’re often confused, angry, jealous, envious, and prone to pity parties when favor and reaping overtakes them……and not us. (LOL) We’re jealous of their sour gummy bears, but have no desire for the work that made the sour gummy bears possible. So we continue sitting with a bowl of cold spaghetti….watching them throw back their treat. And we’re still on step one, wondering why we’re on step one….never connecting the dots.
I don’t know what God is asking you to do today. I don’t know what meal he’s sat in front of you that’s for your good. But EAT IT. And if you decide that your appetite doesn’t call for it. It’s okay. But it’s not okay to lash out at those who are at the stage beyond the meal. When we find ourselves jealous of others rewards, we just aren’t ready for them yet. Cultivate your appetite. Don’t fill up on things that aren’t going to benefit you. That way, when what’s good for you is sat in front of you, you will be hungry for it, ready for it, and desiring of it. It won’t just be seen as a gateway to the reward, it will be seen as desirable and necessary.