By: Stephanie Fink
My two sons and I screeched to
a halt and investigated the treasures at Target. At this particular aisle we found an oasis of clearanced
candles. I’m a candle lover with keen olfactory senses, so inexpensive,
delicious smelling candles are a cheap thrill! I lifted the sensibly priced
luminary hopefuls to my nose. > Hummm…smells nice, but not a keeper.
Or so I thought.
Approximately 2.032 seconds
after I returned the votive candle pack, I heard glass crash. What was that? A quick analysis revealed that in one
sweeping turn, my big-honkin’-momma-purse knocked them off the shelf and into
numerous shards below.
I shooed my boys away from the
jagged circle of destruction and rationalized…Well, they’re on clearance, Target won’t miss em’…this is just an accident,
surely they won’t make me pay for them…who puts glass candles on corner aisle
shelves…did anyone see this?
My boys stood statue still;
their eyes the size of pizza pies.
As I knelt down to pick up the sharp pieces I felt more than just the
power of their eyes upon me. This
was not the moment to just get through.
This was the moment to make it count. One of those don’t-want-it-to-be-but-it- is-what-it-is learning
How completely inconvenient.
I picked up the remains of my
pride and candles and placed them gingerly into my red plastic picnic basket. Instantaneously, my six year old
questioned, “Why are you putting them in your basket Mommy? They’re broken.”
“I know, honey, but it was just
an accident. And accidents happen
all the time.” Isn’t that what I tell
them when the inevitable milk spill occurs at every meal?
As we trudged toward the checkout
lane, I was irritated at having to spend money on something I knew I’d just be throwing
out. I hoped the cashier would somehow
get me off the hook with some version of, “Oh don’t worry about this honey, you
don’t have to pay for these.”
But that’s not what
No, my middle aged cashier gave
me something much more valuable than cheap words for cheap candles, “Wow, boys,
you have a very honest Mommy.” As the red scanner glowed to register my new
candles, my heart illuminated too.
I could have cried right there.
I want to raise little boys
that will grow to be men of character.
When their life appears to be cracked and in pieces, I want them to do the
next right thing; to build a life of good choices brick, by brick. I realized then, that the “character
bricks” are cemented when they observe good (or bad) examples.
Former Oklahoma US
representative J.C. Watts said it best, “Character is doing the right thing
when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing
that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.”
I’m grateful now that I made
that moment “count”. There have
been far too many that I fast-forwarded through because I’d rather compete in
another round of spazz-nastics than the character balance beam. Character always costs something. Sometimes it costs energy, time and
even money. But that day, true to Target’s motto, I “expected more and paid
less.” Our character lesson was just a tad over $3.
Later that year, our then first
grade son was peer-voted the first “Star Student” of his class. The criteria was based on character,
character that I believe was strengthened by glass shards that once surrounded
average smelling candles.
Steph's writing has appeared in Proverbs 31 Ministry, P31 Woman
magazine. In her free time she can be found encouraging numerous MOPS
group in the northern Virginia area on the "Colorful Art of Friendship
- Allowing God to Paint the Masterpieces" and MOPS leaders on "Being a
Steph can be found blogging at www.encouragedinheart.org
or on Facebook at Stephanie Fink or on her Facebook page Encouraged in Heart
- Stephanie Fink. She loves big hair, big cups of coffee and big bear hugs.
Labels: Faith, Inspiration, Parenting