Apr 13, 2018 5504 Courtney Vallejo

Lessons From an Ice Cream Sundae

The other day my two oldest children got to go to a professional basketball game and I was left with the tricky choice of sending my 5 year old or keeping him home. He so badly wanted to go, and I wanted him to have that memory, but we were also on vacation and he would be getting to bed so late. I did not want to risk him being drained the next few days. After days agonizing over it, going back and forth about whether he would always remember the time he did not get to go, in the end I decided he should not go. I kept him with me and in an attempt to make his night memorable I told him we were going to get ice cream sundaes.

We were staying with my aunt and she lived down the street from a Dairy Queen. I imagined this being an amazing drive-thru adventure. As we were about to leave, I mentioned Dairy Queen to her and she informed me that they had closed. The look of horror on my face sent her into hysterical laughter. My plan was failing! The options were the cheap drive-thru or the expensive ice cream shop. Needing to save face I decided on the expensive one. As we drove by the cheap one, he saw it, and begged for us to go there. There is nothing special about that one; in fact, I never really like their sundaes—but to him, it is a treat. I asked him if he wanted the expensive one but he reaffirmed his desire for the cheap one.

Realizing this was about him and his memories, I settled for the cheap drive-thru. Later, as I thought about the event, I compared it to the choices and plans God has for us. He always wants to give us the absolute best! He wants us to feast on the what will fill us at a deeper level, yet we are quick to jump at the scraps and settle for the drive-thru. If my son had let me pick the ice cream for him, he would have gotten a two-scoop sundae made from fancy ice cream flavors complete with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. Instead, he got some flavorless vanilla soft-serve with M&Ms. Maybe he is teaching me a lesson on humility but I think it is bigger than that. He went with what was familiar. He did not take the risk of the place he was unsure. He settled with the safe choice. What if I am settling with the safe choice? What if I am not taking those risks in life that God is offering me? How can I know if I am settling or if I should demand more?

My plan to “distract” him ultimately did not work because he woke up the next morning asking why he did not get to go to the game! Ugh, the life of a parent! It got me thinking: I really want to show my children how to discern their choices, weigh their options and, most importantly, learn to listen to that nudging parental push from God, encouraging us to choose the best!

What steps do you take in your discernment process to ensure you are making the best choice?


Courtney Vallejo

Courtney Vallejo is a Catholic wife and mother who lives in California. She and her husband are raising and homeschooling, their three adopted children. She holds a master’s degree in film production and a California multiple subject teaching credential. She also writes for her own blog, courtneyvallejo.com.

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