Saturday, May 29, 2010

Recipes, part 1

“Where there is no plan, the people perish” -Proverbs 29:18

As I’ve counseled with families over the years, I’ve often heard parents say, “This parenting job is crazy! I just wish I had a recipe to show me how to do it all correctly.” I’ve often wished for that recipe or formula in many areas of my life.

I remember once in college I went goose hunting with my dad and 3 older brothers in south Texas. We had a blast (pun intended) and I brought one of the geese back with me to Waco. I planned to cook it for a pre-Thanksgiving meal that my roommates and I had planned. But the day got busy and the next thing I knew, I only had an hour to cook the goose for our 6 o’clock dinner. Not having a recipe, I improvised and used my logical male mind: turn up the heat to 400, put the goose on a tray and cook away! We prepared the mashed potatoes and green beans and had it all on the table as we waited for the goose to be ready. The timer went off and I took the goose out of the oven and set it on the table. Do you remember the turkey in the movie “Christmas vacation?” That’s exactly what the goose looked like. It was like eating beef jerky. Terrible. But at least the mashed potatoes were good. The problem was I had no recipe.

Another cooking adventure for me was a mayonnaise cake I made for Jeanie. I have no idea why I was making a cake, but I do remember following the recipe and putting the mayonnaise in the cake, cooking it, and the cake tasting like…mayonnaise. The problem wasn’t being without a recipe. The problem was I had a recipe that didn't taste very good.

My last cooking fiasco involved one of my favorite meals. To this day, I’m famous in the Staples household for making meatloaf. I make all kinds of varieties. One day, I decided to branch out on my own and serve a creative meat loaf I’d invented. I put cheese in the middle of the meatloaf. I figured it would taste like a cheeseburger. Well, the cheese in the middle of the meatloaf melted and when we cut into the meatloaf, the cheese melted all over the knife and plate. I had a recipe and it tasted good, but I added to it and ruined it.

I’m reminded that God has given us the recipe for parenting through His words to us in the Bible. Scripture is packed with great recipes for success in preparing our teens. Here are some recipe ingredients:

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” –Proverbs 22:6
“Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul” - Proverbs 29:17
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” - Ephesians 6:4.

There are many more important principles there for the picking in Scripture. The recipes definitely exist and are all applicable to families. Some parents don't parent at all. Their children are an interruption to their lives. Other parents choose to parent “by their own devices.” They have no plan and fall back on their own logic and desires. And still other parents have the recipe for parenting and desire to cook a great meal, but then add to the recipe.

Choose your recipe for parenting carefully and stick to the ingredients and instructions. No meal is perfect, but turkey tastes pretty good when it’s cooked by the recipe.

Next we’ll focus on one of the best meals I’ve ever prepared in “Recipes, part 2.”

By Eric Joseph staples ©

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