When my daughter in grade school lost her homework and the bus arrival was imminent-I searched and prayed. Something directed me, “Look under the table cloth.” Ridiculous? Uh-huh! But it worked! Guess where I found the missing lessons?
And when my youngest daughter came home and reported someone on the bus was being mean to her–praying was automatic. “Lord, how do we fix this? Being mean back isn’t the answer.”
Years had passed since I had made taffy as a child. And we hadn’t done it often; it’s a long process–stirring the boiling syrup, pulling and twisting it into long ropes as it cools. The results were golden satiny pieces of sweet candy, and slightly burned hands.
But that popped into my head as the perfect solution-my daughter would help solve her problem and we would have mother-daughter quality time.
So, we made taffy. I boiled and stirred until it was time to pour it onto a buttered board and start pulling the hot, sticky mass into twisted rope-like strands. We pulled and folded the ropes of taffy, then pulled some more. The taffy stretching gave us room for stretching our conversation and imaginations.
“Honey, this little boy probably doesn’t know how to be nice. Maybe this is how he thinks you make friends,” I said. “We have an opportunity to show him a different way.”
I outlined my plan–we would bring him a piece of homemade taffy each day, wrapped and presented as a gift.
I cautioned my daughter against possible disappointment. “If this little boy isn’t use to kindness“, I explained, “he might pretend he doesn’t want it and throw it away. But that’s okay“, I continued, “we’ll just bring him some more“. The next morning my daughter took a large piece of wrapped taffy and left for the school bus.
Her tale when she returned home made me glad I had been inspired to add the information about the little boy possibly rejecting her gift. It could only have been part of my answered prayer. The boy took the candy, scoffed and threw it on the bus floor. A neighbor boy picked it up, unwrapped it, stuck it in his mouth and shouted “It’s good!” All the while, the boy for whom it was intended watched. My daughter bore the disappointment well.
The next morning the tormentor on the bus accepted the candy and defiantly stuck it in his mouth, not willing to let someone get his gift again.
A third morning of taffy fixed the problem. The torment stopped. The next time I attended a school luncheon for parents and students; that same little boy was smiling and sneaking friendly glances at my daughter.
Some years later when a similar problem arose? “Time for taffy!” I shouted.