Recipes of Life

Tonight I attended a fundraiser to raise awareness and funds to combat family violence.  The honoree very accurately described family violence as a learned behavior passed down through generations like recipes and heirlooms.  It made me think about the recipe my hubby and I are writing for our son.

My recipe has been written, the meal prepared and already being served to society.  Some people like the taste and others feel it needs more salt, more sweet, more laughter, less crazy, etc.  Take it or leave it, this is the meal that has been prepared and served based on my recipe.  This does not mean that the meal can't be changed.  Just like tonight's dinner of roasted whole chicken can become tomorrow night's chicken soup, so too can parts of my meal be adjusted, adding new ingredients to produce a whole new flavor using my same basic recipe. 

The lessons we learn in life become the directions on our recipe card.  It is amazing the covert lessons we learn from our parents and grandparents.  Not once did my mom say to me or my sister, "Ok girls, let's begin lesson #236 - what you should expect from a relationship."  Nor did my dad ever say to me, my brother or sister, "Please open up your Life textbooks to chapter 6 so we can review the lesson on what it means to have a good work ethic."  There were no formal lesson plans and yet I am the person I am today because these covert lessons transformed into my directions - Step 16: Always be a mom first to your child, the friendship comes much later (learned beautifully from my mom)  Step 28: Be a strong woman that leads by example (learned graciously from my grandmothers)  Step 32: Love your children and grandchildren unconditionally (learned lovingly from my Papa) and so on and so on.

My hubby and I are working very hard to write the recipe of our son's life.  We are still gathering all the ingredients that he will need to succeed in preparing his meal.  We know that there are certain core ingredients that we feel are essential and that ultimately he will add a few last minute items for flavor.  1 1/2 cups of understanding, 1 cup of patience,  3/4 cup of respect, 6 cups of integrity, 1 pound of love and so much more.  But what flavors will he add? A pinch of artistry?  A dash of humor?  A tablespoon of athleticism? 

Only time will tell what the final ingredients of his recipe will be, but one thing is for certain that he will start to write his directions from the lessons he learns from us.  We must always be vigilant in our daily interactions with him and with each other as he will soak in all those covert lessons.  Lucky for him the recipes and heirlooms of his life will not be of hate, violence or disrespect but will be flavored with love, kindness and understanding.

(If you are someone feeling the pain of family violence - physical and/or emotional - there is help! Contact the Family Violence Project of JFS - they are wonderful and they will help.  818-505-0900 completely confidential 24 hour crisis line or )