Friday, March 4, 2011

Weigh me down with Caramel deLites and throw me in the ocean.

We got our first delivery of Girl Scout Cookies. One box each of Caramel deLites and Peanut Butter Patties. With great restraint, the girls and I put them away, unopened, to enjoy as dessert after dinner. It was hard, but we were having meatloaf, a family favorite, and planning to watch the latest episode of Survivor, so our anticipation sustained our resistance.

After dinner, each girl was allowed to choose three cookies, as did my husband and I. And they were every bit as fantastic as we remembered from last year. How does one even choose between the two supreme flavors of the universe: peanut butter and caramel? If you’re a kid, you have to. But if you’re an adult, you only have to wait until you’ve tucked the kids in for the night.

After bedtime, we indulged in a few more cookies and a nice cup of milk, watched the nightly news, and then trudged off to bed ourselves. On my way out of the living room, I noticed that we hadn’t put the cookies away and it crossed my mind that perhaps we might come out in the morning to find the tray empty, but I was sore and tired, so I did nothing about it. After all, we were expecting another couple deliveries over the week, as there are a number of Girl Scouts in the neighborhood, so we order a box or two from each of them. Plus the girls were pretty unlikely to actually consume all the cookies that were left before we could intervene.

My younger daughter woke up before everyone else in the morning, and my husband heard the telltale rattle of the cookie tray and wrapper. When I came out to breakfast, he seemed a little proud of our girl, in that, as soon as he came out into the living room, she promptly confessed to having eaten a Girl Scout Cookie. I too was impressed by her self control and honesty, and relieved that she knew better than to scarf down every cookie in sight. I hated it, though, that she felt bad for it.  I wish, I could take away the guilt she felt for eating a cookie when she knew she shouldn’t. I left a tray of open Girl Scout Cookies on the side table in the living room. My daughter showed the personal fortitude to eat just one cookie. If it had been me, I would have eaten three, at least.

I know she knew better, but I definitely knew better. Instead of considering the situation I was putting my kids in, I selfishly thought only of myself. As long as I was going to get to enjoy more cookies, I wasn’t worried about the inviting temptation I was laying out for them to stumble into. It’s not the end of the world that my kid ate a cookie without permission, but if my daughter can confess to her cookie consumption, let me confess to my lazy parenting. And my hope that I’ll do better next time. After all, the scripture promises grave consequences for leading a child to sin.

It will be terrible for people who cause even one of my little followers to sin. Those people would be better off thrown into the deepest part of the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their necks! Matthew 18:6

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