A 500 Piece Puzzle and a Stupid McDonald’s Toy
The last time I suspended reason and went to a fast food joint, I believe it provided a valuable learning lesson. Today was no exception.
It began with a conversation where I ended up tongue tied before an innocent Mr. Smackdown.
“Why are we going to McDonald’s? Isn’t that the bad restaurant? Why would you be taking me to a place that is bad for me?”
“Ummm . . . we are going because it is raining and so that you can play with your friends. The Bible doesn’t say that McDonald’s is bad. So we won’t be sinning by going. McDonald’s just doesn’t have food choices that make our body function at its best. I can bring your lunch or we can make a wise decision about what you eat.”
“OK, Mommy. Bring a little bit of fruit and I will eat the rest of my lunch there. Will Matthew be there to play?”
The conversation ended as quickly as it began. But I saw the influence I have on my children. They watch. They listen. They learn. They question. Then try and figure out their moral compass through my life.
Fast forward. Play. Lunch. New toy (stupid ball–I have decided all Happy Meal toys are of the devil. Just kidding. Well . . . kind of!) Play. Time to go. Put shoes on.
Drop stupid ball. Ball rolls into an unreachable location.
I swear the whole restaurant went into a muffled silence as I heard the evil toy drop out of Mr. Me-Too’s hands in slow motion and roll under the play area. I saw my body propel itself forward, silently screaming “Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!”
Too late. Very unhappy three year old. Positively no self control was anywhere to be found. No ball. Hard lesson. Going home. Miserable car ride. Nap time.
As the two younger boys entered the world of dreams, Mr. Smackdown asked me to help him launch his new 500 piece puzzle. Inwardly I groaned. I honestly wanted to be alone. I was wiped from remaining mostly calm and self-controlled with my hostile, desperately-seeking-ball, little boy.
But being a professional mom, I realized that the adult thing to do was to show my eldest some love and help him sort through all 500 pieces to find the straight edges.
Isn’t that what a mom does in real life? We set boundaries for our children, morale standards by which they can live their life. We have to help them sort though all of their thoughts, others actions, countless words–in order to grasp reality, to find facts, to discover their relationship with God.
But learning how to interact with the world can be difficult.
And our life, the life that God has planned for us, can be derailed . . . all for a ball. A stupid ball made in China that will be forgotten about in next week’s trash. All for an idol.
Moms, we have big jobs. Important jobs. Help your child figure out life. Take that time, even though it takes energy. Find the straight edges of their puzzle, of their life. Take the time to read the Bible to them . . . to choose straight puzzle pieces through the word of God in a mismatched world that contains more than 500 choices.