Can you Supersize that?
So there we were, strolling through Mall of America as a family…like we normally did slow Saturdays. When, as usual, Olivia, my first born, spots something to ask for. This time she saw the Popcorn store front. “MOMMY, MOMMY!! Can we buy some popcorn, I LOVE popcorn”. How could I refuse those eyes? I had my hagendaaz, her brother had his baby snacks, so why not? “Okay Libby”, I replied. This particular vendor had popcorn galore. Spicy, Cinnamon, White Cheddar, Cheddar Cheese, Salt and Pepper, Caramel, the list went on and on. Like any 4 year old, Olivia is looking through the glass and making a life decision, taking an awkward amount of time to choose. “Can—I—get—meeeeeeee— uhhhhhhhhh? Uh?uh-“. I began to alternate stares between Libby and the Cahier saying “sorry, she’s just a toddler” with my eyes. The cashier was polite and just waited as if she knew how important this was to her. Finally the Cashier breaks the silence and says, “You can sample some popcorn if you like…” Oh Lord, what did she say that for? Libby leaped up and down like Christmas had come twice that year. The nice lady grabbed a petite tasting pixie cup and stuffed all three kernels of the white cheddar popcorn that Libby had pointed to. She reached over the counter expecting Lib to grab the cup, and she was left hanging. Swiftly I grabbed the sample and gave Libby the don’t-be-rude mommy look, said thank you to the cashier and attempted to give Olivia the pixie cup. She looked at me and then at the popcorn clerk and articulately verbalized, “excuse me, I can’t tell if I like it if I only have three. Can you put my taster in the big bag please?” At this point, I’m gasping. Let’s pause so I can break this down to you. The number ONE reason why Mommy’s stay in the house, is because of the overwhelming fear of their children acting up. Not just acting up-but showing out, embarrassing them, acting like they don’t have no’ home training, drawing negative attention, etc. YOU know what I’m saying. So you can imagine what was going through my head! First, we had been standing in front of the glass for what felt like an entire afternoon. Second, this cashier is being more than patient and accommodating. And third, her behind should have grateful that I was even allowing her to have popcorn as a mall snack that day. I rolled my eyes like my mother used to, and whispered through my teeth, “Libby!”. The cashier was taken back I could tell, but not in the bad “I don’t have time for this, this only my weekend job” kind of way that I expected. Perhaps she was impressed by this four year olds’ vocabulary, perhaps she was humored by her innocence, but whatever it was, before I knew it the lady was reaching for a big bag saying, “You know what? You are right. You need to be sure this is the kind you like. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that…” By this time, I’m like “huh?” I smiled and gawkily stood there as my parental authority to discipline Olivia was slowly being taken away from me… strike that last sentence from the record and take not that I am dramatic. My baby girl, turned negotiator, is now happily reaching for her regular size bag of sample White Cheddar popcorn, and the cashier looks at me and literally blows my mind with the wisdom she dropped on me. She smiles and says, “We have not because we ask not”. I was floored. I went to pay, she refused payment, and told Olivia that if she finds that she really likes that kind, to come back another day and buy more. I said thank you, we adjusted the stroller and walked away.
Chewing on her comment while walking through the mall, I couldn’t help feeling that I’d just been schooled. Like, wow, “we have not because ask not”. That’s the word. There are a host of scriptures that refer to asking God what we really want with a pure heart and righteous intentions. James 4:2-3, Mathew 7:7, and John 15:7-8, are just a few that highlight the power of purely asking and believing. Pulling from my previous post, God cares about us; those daily activities that are big and small. As a Christian parent, teaching my children how to walk with the lord as well as walk in this natural life, I had to ask God to forgive me. Well first I thanked him, because it was nobody but God that sent that message to me that day at the mall. But I asked for forgiveness particularly because I was about to miss out on a huge opportunity to praise my baby for being polite, assertive, humble, sincere, and blatantly transparent. Characteristics that, I myself, struggle with and find hard to remain consistent with. Why was I so ready to discipline her? Yeah, it was unexpected, but was it wrong? My baby made absolute sense, she wasn’t rude, and she used her manners. When did we start answering all out wants, desires, and request with the answer of “no” and “impossible” in our own minds? And even if that is how I was raised, why am I passing that on as right? I had to seek God on this one. It may seem on the outside looking in, that I am raising a spoiled and entitled child. At that time I would agree, after all, that’s how I felt the popcorn lady was judging me. But, no. What is wrong with asking? You can get a no or a yes, either way, there is no harm. In the natural world there are reputation consequences to asking. If you ask for more food, you’re greedy. If you ask for a discount, you’re cheap. If you ask for a raise, you’re a premature over-achiever. The world has taken away our power to want more, the “right” way. In the spiritual, there are no limits to what our God can do. And nothing is too small for him! What I seen in Olivia that day, I won’t change about her. Yes, I will teach her how to conduct herself in the appropriate settings, but as far as curbing her innocent sincere motives in seeking the things she wants in life, that’s not going to happen. Pray that God opens your mouth and you began to live freely, asking for what you want, denying and separating from what you don’t want, and living according to his purpose he’s set out for you. We can all learn from children, no matter how old we are.
– Rebecca Johnson
Calling All Daughters Member