I was on the phone this morning with a friend while I was getting Kai's lunch ready. We were talking about life, coffee, and all points in between, when the "chicken alarm" - our code for "oven timer" - started going off. This is Kai's signal that it's time to clean off his desk & sit down to eat. While I was waiting for his lunch to cool down, I poured him a glass of milk &ntook it to him. After taking the first sip, I asked him what kind of milk he was drinking. A huge, goofy grin spread across his face as he said in the most drawn-out voice possible "Chocolate milk!"
My friend, who was on speaker phone and apparently heard the bliss in his voice, remarked "Chocolate milk? Goodness! What did we do to deserve that?"
My gut reaction was to laugh and say in a deadpan voice "Absolutely nothing." Matter of fact, I'd say that based on his attitude as of late, he's more deserving of stale bread and room temperature water, if anything. We've recently entered the full-little-boy-toddler phase of life, including temper tantrums, stomping our feet, and a voice that comes in two volumes: freaking loud, and "Are his parents deaf or do they ignore him all the time?" loud.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this was in many ways the ideal time to give him chocolate milk - when he does not "deserve" it.
God knows that I have been gifted with chocolate milk in my life enough times from friends, family, and from God when I utterly, completely, totally did not deserve it. I've been shown grace, forgiveness, love, and acceptance when I would have never given me another chance...or another chance...or another chance...
And what would it say about me as a father if I only give him chocolate milk when he asks for it, or for when he's been "good enough" to "deserve" it? What does that teach him about love, other than it's conditional? And because I hyper-analyze things, I of course have to ask what would this teach him about God?
We put God in the role of Santa Claus enough when we think we have to watch out, not cry, and not pout in order to curry His favor so that He will give us something we ask for. The truth and beauty of grace and forgiveness is that we continually receive a renewal, a second chance, and a glass of chocolate milk out of love and not due to anything we do or don't do.
Funny enough, as I sit next to him typing this out, I hear the sweetest and now calm little voice in the world ask "Daddy, can I have some more choklit milk, please?" as he pushes a now-empty glass towards me.
Yeah. No way this kid's ever getting a scorpion from me.