Wednesday, May 11, 2011

chickens and pot handles

I wandered into the kitchen this morning knowing that I "had" to cook an egg for breakfast. It started out last night as I gathered in more eggs than would fit in my bucket (that's not so many really it was a small bucket). I dropped one which shattered and oozed. You have to scoop the goo up right away lest your chickens figure out what is inside these things they lay and develop a taste for them (yuck!). So as I was scooping the goo of one, another egg rolled and cracked inside my pail. (remember me if you have small children to gather your eggs for you... stuff happens, it's nobody's fault.) One down and one injured. That said, I knew that I "had" to have eggs for breakfast this morning.

Actually I decided on pancakes, a little less eggy of a breakfast but utilizing my cracked egg just the same. I got the pan hot and greased and started to pour in the batter all of which I have done countless times. My stove is not quite level. It takes a bit to keep the oil from congregating on one side. As I manipulated the pan, I realized that though my children now are all grown I still make sure the pan handle is not hanging out off the stove.

When did I start doing that? How has it become so ingrained. I remember my mother taught me that. "Be sure to keep the handle out of reach." Out of reach? I was the youngest in the family and our dog was not the robbing type. It seemed dumb at the time. What was the point? But when my own children were born I understood the hazard. Now I like my mother NEVER leave the handle out where small hands can grab and pull the hot contents over themselves.

Children changed my perspective on just about everything. I went from feeling pretty confident to totally confused. I wishchildren came with a manuals. Something with a huge chapter on trouble shooting! But the one thing I got loud and clear was that it wasn't about me. I don't really care about pot handle positions but I care about how a pot handle might effect someone else.

How do we make the switch? It is logical and obviously worth the effort to change my behavior to protect a child... especially MY child. But what about others? I'm still learning to take others into account when I consider my actions. For instance, I used to take produce back to the grocery store when it turned out to be rotten on the inside. That works (or seems to work) in the big cities where many people buy and few return. But the first time I headed out the door of our new small town home to return a rotten melon my husband asked me what the effect would be if I returned that melon? Who did I think would be paying for the melon? Well, I never considered the effect on others, I just wanted what I paid for, a piece of edible fruit. But the grocer was a personal friend, and barely making ends meet. Wow, I never thought of that!

Our conversation opened up a huge window into a world where other people existed beside me. I'm embarrassed to admit that. I understood being attentive to my own children's needs but now I was seeing the needs of others as well.

I used to go to garage sales to get bragging rights on the "big deal" I got. I was the queen of dickering and proud of it. Now I try to measure whether the people having this garage sale are getting rid of junk or selling possessions in order to eat. Sometimes now I am willing to pay more than a thing is worth to offer a hand up. I have a long way to go. I long for the day when think about that pot handle in connection with a way bigger circle than myself and my family.

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