One of my fondest childhood memories is making chocolate chip cookies with my mom. Those homemade cookies were the best! Not only were they warm and chewy, they smelled like a sugary heaven. Making them with my mom was the most special part. We followed a recipe and took careful steps to ensure these would be the best treats we ever tasted.
We had to select the right ingredients, blend the batter just right, (not too much, not too little) and bake them for the right amount of time. My joy could not be contained as I watched them through the oven door, and smelled the sweet aroma filling the air. In just a few minutes, that precious treasure would enter my mouth and activate delightful sensations.
But it was never just about the delicious cookies. It was the quality time I spent with my mother. It was our time to create something to be proud of. And of course I was a master cookie maker… NOT! I would get better at the process, but I had to learn how to do it first. Each step was important and could not be fudged.
All the while mom was there, quietly overseeing this delicate process with a loving but observant eye. At least that’s what I perceived. Those chocolate chip cookies were my masterpieces, something I could be proud of, and then savor with each bite.
Recently, I watch my oldest son grab a processed cookie out of the cabinet, quickly tear off the plastic, take one bite, and then toss the remains in the garbage. No remorse, no second thoughts. I think hmmm…we should make homemade cookies together! I share this idea with him and he says, “But why? Store bought cookies are soooo much easier.” Yes, you simply buy them and eat them right away. It’s a direct route to instant gratification. This sort of thinking saddens me. Is this what life has come to?
Instead of launching into a lecture, I grab my keys, my purse, my recipe, and his hand. We are off to the store.
I tell him that selecting the perfect ingredients is crucial. There are no shortcuts. Start with real chocolate chips… the yummy kind. He can’t contain an impulse to open the bag and take a giant whiff. But then he spills the chips on the floor. He laughs his way through an apology.
Even though he is goofing around, he is also learning a valuable lesson. By carefully selecting these ingredients and being properly prepared, he will receive the ultimate reward.
Once my son and I get back home, he reads each line of the recipe aloud. With a painstaking precision, he mixes the ingredients together. Somehow a dash of flour has made its way up to my nose, which makes him snicker.
“This is fun, but it’s kinda hard too,” he says. He’s learning something about discipline. There aren’t any shortcuts on this road. Steps can’t be skipped.
Soon, our kitchen is crawling with family members whose nasal cavities are filling up with the scent of fresh baked cookies. And mysteriously enough, two of our young next-door neighbors decide to make an unscheduled visit as well.
I cannot write enough “mmmms” in the word “yummy” to describe the scene. My son’s smile lights up the room, and I know what he’s thinking. I just made the best ever chocolate chip cookies!
The chocolate chips are melting in our mouths, but something else is melting too, my heart, because my son has learned one of life’s most valuable lessons. Take pride in a job well done. There’s another lesson too. If you bake something tasty, people will hang around for more. Batch #2 coming right up!
Taking the easiest, safest road is NOT always the best way to accomplish a goal. When shortcuts are taken to receive instant gratification, no lesson is learned. Knowledge is not acquired and you’re no wiser than you were before.
Sometimes, the best way is the long route. It leads to long-term gratification and acquired wisdom that will last a lifetime. The invaluable lessons will be remembered forever, by you and those around you. That is really something to savor.