Not too long ago while getting dinner ready, I steamed some baby carrots for the boys. When their plates were on the table, I called Emmett (nearly 9) and Solomon (6 1/2 because evidently the half matters – but that’s a whole other blog post) in to eat. Emmett promptly said “you always give Solomon the better carrots,” (as if there is such a thing) and then what followed next was surprising, “you love him more.” My jaw dropped and I was agog with curiosity. My first thought was, they are carrots and aren’t all carrots created equal? Please don’t judge me because my first thought was about the equality of carrots. My next thought was, “Impossible!” I love both of my children with all that I am and there are no tallies as to a competition between the two. As sure as I live and breathe, I love them both, the same, period end of story. I can’t speak for other parents, but I would never say I like one better than the other.
In high school we read the book Ordinary People which later was turned into an Academy Award winning movie. The mother in the book had a unique relationship with her older son, maybe because he was firstborn I don’t know, but when Buck (the older) and Conrad (the younger) were in a boating accident only Conrad survived. In some way the mother was punishing the Conrad for surviving and thus Conrad was punishing himself for living. I highly commend the book to you for an interesting study in family dynamics and dysfunction. What always strikes me as strange is that the mother wasn’t even able to hug Conrad, even in flashbacks she was only affectionate to Buck. The movie is, well, painful and pain-filled, but so gripping. I assume the mother loved both of her boys equally but who knows, maybe it was a personality thing, but I could always understand why Conrad felt guilty, he did the one thing Buck couldn’t do, he held on, he survived and the mother could never forgive him for that.
Then I think about my family dynamics and who gets the real or perceived good carrots in my family. I know parents are just people who are doing the best they can with the tools that they have, so I try not to dwell on the past but rather use the past as an opportunity for reflection and to equip me to be a better parent.
Of course all this is to say that I am reminded of the Prodigal Son and how there is perceived favoritism, but at the end of the day, the father (The Father), really just wants his children to get along. Children are different, they have different personalities and gifts, but the Father shows compassion and grace and forgiveness to them all. The Father meets them where they are. Every time I read the story of the Prodigal Son I like to read it from a different perspective; the Father, the son who squandered his inheritance, and the son who stays home, because each voice tells a different story and offers a whisper of wisdom if we are still enough to listen.
So no, I did not give Solomon the better carrots, I put no thought or intention in sorting the carrots, but perhaps I need to pay more attention to the carrots and be mindful of how the carrots might be received. Wisdom from carrots, who knew? May your produce also offer you insight as it has offered it to me.