I don’t know about you, but over the years, I’ve employed about one million tricks/bribes in an effort to coax my kids into loving fruits and vegetables. I’ve tried everything from subbing with cauliflower or mixing in sweet potatoes to allowing, even encouraging, berries to be covered in sugar before ingesting. (why I buy “organic” fruit for this activity, I will never understand) Nonetheless, when the pediatrician asks if they’ve been eating their fruits and vegetables, at least there are a few of those bases covered.
In my book, this is #winningatmomming.
Amid all my efforts to make healthy food enjoyable, at times I must succumb to the gentle white snow of powdered sugar gracing my kitchen. From the countertop, all the way to the floor, covering at least a nine square foot area, lies the evidence of an entire pint of strawberries enjoyed in a single sitting. As you can imagine I’m part glad, that someone consumed that many berries. I’m part sad, that I’m introducing a habit that could quickly lead to diabetes. A very large part of me is mad because “someone” didn’t clean up their own warzone in the kitchen. I find the coexistence of these feelings are a recurring theme of motherhood.
I also find that what I choose to do next impacts my kids far more than the berries, or the sugar ever will.
Someone needs to clean up this mess, and even though it would be relatively easy for me to do it, that’s the wrong answer. It’s wrong because I’d likely do it with grumbling and complaining, but also because it doesn’t allow them to be responsible for their actions. My natural tendency is to raise my voice, leaving a “Who made this mess?!” question filling the air (like I didn’t already know the answer). As soon as someone fesses up, I’d demand that they get in there and clean up after themselves, with a very clear sense of frustration and disappointment in my tone. Instead, I’m finding the most confidence in my parenting these days, by implementing justice with mercy. In this situation I got everyone’s attention and announced that whomever destroyed the kitchen, may immediately return to clean it up completely. Or I would be happy to deduct my hourly fee from their savings while I handle it for them, and I know that would be sad since they’re both working hard to save money right now. It’s impressive how quickly they hop-to and transform the kitchen, when justice is presented with mercy. Minerva Carcaño gives this encouragement:
“Step out in the confidence that what is just and merciful will transform the situation.”
Parenting highlights this clearly for me, but it’s true in all of life. When we choose to temper our own emotions with mercy, in situations that obviously require justice, it transforms the outcome. In my ongoing coaching with Michelle James, when I come to her wanting to discern a the right path in a given situation, she consistently reminds me that whatever path I choose, it must come from a pure place of loving kindness toward the other person involved. Time and time again that motive, of doing whatever needs to be done, with my heart focused on loving kindness towards the other person, has led to peaceful outcomes. Outcomes that were far better than I could have imagined.
If I had only sought justice, without letting mercy lead the way, it wouldn’t have gone that way.
If you find yourself dealing with a situation as small as sugar in the kitchen, to one as large as needing to head separate ways in a relationship, remember justice and mercy. Make every decision out of loving kindness towards the other and it will lead you down a much more peaceful path.
Justice + Mercy
Strawberries + Sugar
Loving kindness matters far more than we often realize.
to more love,
p.s. Tickets for “Gather ‘Round GNO next week are almost all gone. If you need some good girlfriend time to refill your tank of loving kindness, gather your girlfriends and join us. You won’t regret it.