This past Thursday I opened the door and found a FedEx box on my doorstep. I brought it inside and was thrilled to find it full of fresh cherries. Thrilled, but not surprised – I knew they were coming.
Last year I made a comment on Facebook about how I think that fresh cherries are even more proof that God loves us. Turns out that one of my Facebook friends/blog readers is a cherry grower in Washington. Not only does Ryan Christensen grow cherries, he has a terrific memory. A year later, he remembered and contacted me to make arrangements for the delivery.
The cherries are delicious, ripe, big and firm – better than the kind we usually can buy at the grocery store. According to Ryan, there is a reason for this. He told me, “I love to get farm fresh big cherries into the hands of people who love them. Truly, the US consumer never sees the best of what we can produce. They all go to Japan, Korea, China, and Australia. The domestic market gets the leftovers.”
This didn’t really surprise me because I knew from my dad’s work in the food industry that the stuff we can get at the grocery store is not nearly the quality of the stuff that gets shipped away, or offered to restaurants. Quite literally, when it comes to fresh produce, we do get the “leftovers.”
Ryan’s comment that “US consumer never sees the best of what we can produce” got me, and (as I tend to do) I personalized it.
Does my family get the best of what I have to offer?
It is a serious question. I know that when I am at work, or with friends:
- I do my best to be polite, friendly and kind – even if I have to “fake it ’til I feel it.”
- I can tolerate all kinds of stupidity from friends, customers and coworkers without ever getting angry or raising my voice.
- I can patiently listen to friends and clients drone on about nothing without cutting them off or tuning them out.
- When an employee has something they need to discuss with me, I don’t reluctantly pause what I am doing and glare at them.
- I don’t leave my junk strewn around the office.
- I don’t leave my dirty dishes in the sink or used paper plates on the counter.
- When someone needs help with a problem, I am quick to help resolve it.
- I use more than mono-syllabic grunts to answer questions.
I can’t say the same thing about my behavior at home.
Why the double standard? Why do the most important people inside my home not deserve equal or superior treatment than the people I deal with outside my home?
It seems backwards. And I’m sure it isn’t just me. I know that there is plenty of behavior that goes on with our loved ones that would never be tolerated in the outside world. Some of it very disrespectful, crass, inappropriate and just plain gross. Are our spouses and children exempt from the basic respect? Would you belch in a conference room, or leave the bathroom door open at the office?
Does my family see the best side of me, or does the “natural man” kick off his shoes and relax when he walks through the door?
I am sure that some will respond, “But home is where I can let down my guard and be myself and not have to worry about what everyone else is thinking.”
That does make sense – if that version of who we are is the better of the two. But if it isn’t, then isn’t the “domestic market getting the leftovers?”
There are ways I can improve. I still intend on kicking off my shoes and flopping on the bed when I get home some days – it is my house – but I am talking more about my personal interactions with my family. It is an interesting process to spend a few days being aware of the different ways we relate to family vs. non-family.
In some ways, the family wins: Affection, honesty, sacrifice, silliness, spirituality, long-term commitment, etc.
In some ways, the world wins: Respect, patience, promptness, politeness, cleanliness, etc.
I hope that I can pick the best of both worlds, and let my family enjoy the best of what I have to offer, rather than have them live with the leftovers.
“Being a Righteous Husband and Father,” Howard W. Hunter.
“Hallmarks of a Happy Home,” Thomas S. Monson
President Joseph F. Smith said: “Fathers, if you wish your children to be taught in the principles of the gospel, … if you wish them to be obedient to and united with you, love them! and prove to them that you do love them by your every word or act to them. For your own sake, for the love that should exist between you and your boys—however wayward they might be, … when you speak or talk to them, do it not in anger; do it not harshly, in a condemning spirit. Speak to them kindly; get down and weep with them, if necessary, and get them to shed tears with you if possible. Soften their hearts; get them to feel tenderly towards you. Use no lash and no violence, but approach them with reason, with persuasion and love unfeigned. With this means, if you cannot gain your boys and your girls, there will be no means left in the world by which you can win them to yourselves.” (link)