Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Have a Salad and Wash the Windows--It's Vinegar Day!

Did you know that today is Vinegar Day? Maybe it is because spring gardens are full of greens in June and someone thought you should celebrate with a big salad topped with vinegar and oil dressing. Or perhaps revelers raise a toast as they scramble to use up these last few days of spring and it's requisite cleaning by mixing a little vinegar with water and adding it to a squirt bottle as a cheap and environmental-friendly window cleaner. Whatever the reason, June 16 is deemed Vinegar Day.

Have you ever heard the saying "You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar"? It is a cute way of saying if you want more friends (or suitors) you do it best by being sweet rather than acidic. This cute cliche reminded me of a time a few years ago when I asked the kids how to get a boyfriend or girlfriend and then recorded their answers. Jot didn't take part in the conversation, being too little, so I'm guessing Justice was probably about 6 and Jewel about 4.

Jewel lumped all her responses into a generic formula for both sexes:

*Always wear underwear.
*Use manners.
*Get someone like Jesus.
*Make sure they are funny, strong, and nice.
*If he is a boy, make sure he's handsome.

Here is what Justice said you needed to do if a girl wanted to snag a boyfriend:
*If you pick your nose--stop.
*Don't do very many burps.
*Do everything he says.

Here was his answer when I inquired about how to land a girlfriend:
*Use your manners.
*Chew with your mouth closed.
*Don't tell girls they are stupid.
*No sneaking food and no eating veggies right out of the refrigerator.
*No picking at your butt when she's right near.

They knew the concept of the old adage even though they'd never heard it. God taught me a lesson from their observations. God reminded me that even when it seems like it is going in one ear and out the other, my kids are listening to what I say. For the most part, the things they pointed out were really just parroting back the things I say over and over each and every day: "Chew with your mouth closed." "Wash your carrot before you eat it." "Make sure you put underwear on before you leave the house." "Choose to date and marry someone who loves Jesus." Even though they were years away from dating, they were listening and learning to what I said and what I thought was important.

Even though peers and the culture largely affect our children, studies still show that the number one influence on children and teenagers remains their parents. So, my friend, through the apparent selective hearing, the eye rolling, the sighing, the constant repeating--keep talking. Keep telling your kids what you value. Keep setting boundaries for them. Keep a standard of behavior that you expect from them. And remember to flavor it with a little honey every chance you get. Vinegar is good for salads, but as the proverb writer once said, "Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."

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