Monday, April 16, 2007

Can YOU describe Chocolate Pudding?

Have you ever tried to describe something REALLY basic to somebody and found it very difficult to do? I remember during my time in Ukraine with TLC, our team was excited because on July 4th we were gonna eat some AMERICAN food! We had sent over a large shipment of supplies (Christian literature, Bibles, etc.), and included in that had been stuff for Larry Hobbs to prepare us some meals, particularly for the 4th of July. Our interpreter and friend, Sergei, was amused by how excited we were to be having spaghetti, and a dessert called CHOCOLATE PUDDING. He began to inquire of us, what is chocolate pudding? So the descriptions began: well, "it's this smooth, brown, globby stuff that you eat with a spoon, it has chocolate flavor and sort of goes down on it's own...." You get the picture. Didn't sound too appetizing to someone who had no clue. And by the look of horror on Sergei's face when he saw it and tasted it, you could tell he was unpersuaded!

That was a long story to get me to my point for this blog. Today we tried to explain the fallacy of ethnic stereotyping to our EIGHT YEAR OLD! It was so much harder than I would have thought! Here's how it all went down: we had lunch as a family at our local Mexican restaurant. It's one of our favorite places and they have a mean lunch special! Derek is home for the day and we were enjoying the time together (sorry, Heather!). As we were leaving, Lauren noticed the picture of "Jesus" hanging by the door all aglow with the expected Catholic depiction. Then she blew my mind by saying, " I didn't know these kind of people loved God."

Now, I must digress for a moment to explain her choice of terminology. We have talked to our children a lot about our choices in life in view of the fact that we as a family 'love God' and want to honor Him with our lives. After a time, I almost came to question that decision because I noticed a tendency in both our older children to categorize people into two groups: those who love God and those who do NOT. The rub comes in when THEY begin identifying which is which!! Then you really have some 'splainin to do!

Back to the story. I say, "which kind of people do you mean, Lauren?". She says, 'you know, Mexican people." So Derek and I begin reminding her that there are perhaps MILLIONS of Mexican people in the world. "Have you met them all, Lauren?". "NO."
"So you cannot possibly know if all Mexican people love God or not. Loving God and serving God is an INDIVIDUAL choice and people from all over the world make that choice. We cannot stereotype people and say that a whole group does or does not."


YIKES! It's just harder than I would have thought to explain some concepts that I just take for granted! Parenting is so interesting: once you take really big issues, and start breaking them down, down, down,'re left with such basic information. Maybe that's really all there is to it?

Just for fun, I have to share one more. I had given Sophie very clear instrucions the other night of what I expected from her in her room. The shoes go on the shoe shelf, the toys in the toybox, books on bookshelf, etc. Please do it, Sophie. Mommy will be back to check. True to my word, I came back. Sophie had not obeyed. I shared with her again how Jesus is watching even when Mommy is not, and that she has a responsiblity to be obedient, and so on. I explained to her about MERCY, and said I would show her MERCY by offering her a second chance to obey me. I was feeding Reagan in my room, when my door opened. Wide -eyed, Sophie says, "mommy, Jesus talked to me." (*knowing that Sophie has inherited her very VIVID imagination from me, I smiled) He did, Sophie? What did he say??

In her best ghost-like voice, with hands on either side of her mouth, she said 'he said CLeeaaaaann Yoooouuuuurrrr ROOOOOOOMMMMM." !!!!!!! And every time she hears me relay this story, she very indignantly responds, "FOR REAL, MOMMY!!!!"

All I know is, she cleaned her room that time.


Kimberly N. said...

These stories were great!! Sounds like ya'll did a great are so concrete..maybe you could have just given some insight from this Imus debacle...and you know, defined some more words:) What tricky jobs you parents have!

Anita Dalkin said...

I am way to familiar with how difficult it can be to describe something so basic. Imagine living in a country where English is spoken but they use different words. Here are just a few examples.

Suspenders........Garter belt
Garter belt.......braces

I've had a load of embarrasing moments in the office and it's a good thing I work with loads of women. Once we were talking about one of our elderly clients who was extremely grumpy. I said I don't want to be like that when I get old. I want to be an old lady full of spunk. Everyone burst into laughter. Apparently here in England, spunk means sperm. Imagine my embarrasment. I could tell you many stories. Like the time my colleage asked for a rubber. All I could think of was a condom and thought it an odd question to ask in an office. I said I didn't have one and if I did I wouldn't be loaning it out. Later I discovered rubber means eraser.

Well, I'm turning this into a blog so I'll leave it at that.

Tara said...


Thank you for sufficiently filling my laughter quota for the day. I was very amused by the stories at your expense!

Tara said...


IMUS SHMIMUS! There are some words that can wait indefinitely for definition to my kids as far as I'm concerned! Ah, if only we could protect their innocence forever.....

Juwah said...


I am with you on the concrete kid thing. I too have recently had to deal with some of that. Things are so black and white to children. I just keep explaing the same issue over and over and hope that the abstract/logic thing happens soon, but I think it's several years away.
By the way, can I borrow your tape of "Jesus" telling Sophie to clean her room, it could come in handy. Could you also have him say, "Obeyyyy yyyyyour parentssss"?

Randy Huff said...

Just a note to let you know we received your call -- look forward to seeing you and Derek and little one on Saturday.

~Heather~ said...

Dearest Tara, I spent quite a bit of time signing your blog the other night....but it disappeared...or maybe you deleted it, HA! I was laughing about your description on Choc. pudding...and so I SPLARED out and said that I UNDERSTOOD FULLY...that when I go shopping in an ALL SPANISH COUNTRY and need a certain STRANGE ingredient that I HAVE NO CLUE what to call it, I stand on my head, play the Gestures game, and use every SPANISH word I can to try to describe THE CORNSTARCH or whatever it is that I need. AND WHILE I DO MY BEST TO DESCRIBE THIS...I am being surrounded by 5 or more employees staring at me, and my kids and smiling. HELP! =)
Glad you got to go out to eat as a family, and with your hubby. AND YES WE ARE THRILLED TO HAVE PHILLIP HOME NOW!
Take care~ Heather

Making Memories 1999 said...

Can I use your "Jesus" tape after Juwah gets done with it!! That is GREAT!!! I love it!