Growing up, I heard lots of stories from friends about how they would steal a piece of meat from their mother’s pot, thinking she wouldn’t notice – after all, there was always ‘plenty’ more from where that one piece came – only for her to gather the kids round and demand to know who stole the meat.
One piece of meat! How could she possibly know that one piece was missing out of the many she had in there?
Well, it always turned out, in those stories, that she had counted them. Their mums always knew how many pieces of meat she cut up and put into the cooking pot, to be shared by the household.
Now the question is, were the pieces of meat counted because she wanted to make sure they sufficiently went round the entire household? Or, were they counted because she suspected that one of her kids would steal from the pot?
I don’t know if my own mum ever counted the pieces of meat she cooked. And if I ever stole a piece – which I’m not entirely sure that I did – there was never any drama of “Who Stole the Meat from the Cooking Pot?”
If the latter were the case; if my friends’ mums counted the pieces of meat because they suspected their children would steal from the pot, what does it then say about how those mums were raising them?
What does it say about TRUST in that household?
If I ever found out that my mother counted the pieces of meat only because she suspected I would steal some, I would turn out to be very skeptical of her.
She does not trust me!
Charity begins at home. So, if I’m raised in a home where the parents can’t even trust their own children, there’s a very high likelihood that I’ll grow up not trusting anyone. I’ll carry this dysfunction into my friendships, relationships and marriage – if that even happens.
I was recently told a true story about a pastor in the US, whose neighbours were known to break into people’s homes, in that neighbourhood, when the homeowners were not around. This pastor, whenever he and his family were traveling, would go to those same ‘burglar’ neighbours and ask them to please watch his house while he and his family were away.
The pastor’s house was never broken into, despite the many break-ins in the neighbourhood.
He told this story to his congregation and the moral was that “sometimes, some people just want to be trusted.”
Once you set high expectations for people and subtly let them know it, they would almost always return the favour by living up to it. It’s a way to pull the better selves out of people.
Now, if my mum saw a mark in the pot indicating that I had slid out a piece of meat from there, and she confronted me asking if I knew anything about it while showing me the mark (which then makes it more difficult to deny), I would most likely own up to it. And if not, all evidence may point back to me after everyone else has been ‘interrogated’, in which case I’d be severely punished.
She would then let me know that she was disappointed in me. She didn’t expect me to do such a thing and she would ask me to promise not to do it again.
I would come out of that encounter with a much better outlook on life, than if she had caught me by pre-counting the pieces of meat just “because I knew you’ll go there, you this long-a-throat!”
The reasoning would be:
My mum trusted me not to steal. I did and she was disappointed in me. I won’t do it again, and I will also give other people the benefit of the doubt. I will be more trusting and set higher expectations for those around me to live up to.
My mum does not even trust me. She thinks I’m so terrible and such a thief that she had to count the pieces of meat in the pot so that she could catch me when I INEVITABLY stole one. I will do it again, since that’s what she expects anyway. I will keep on doing it and I dare her to catch me if she can.
And oh, by the way, trust no one. Everyone’s a thief. Everyone’s looking to steal a piece of meat from your cooking pot of life. Everyone’s out to get you. Guard your heart, not the way the Bible tells you to, but guard it. Close it up. Shine your eye! Be a cynic and live a miserable life of distrust. After all, even your own mother could not trust you. So, why trust anyone?
Or what do you think?