Spaghetti, Parenting and Forgiveness


The most intense, most explosive, most out of my mind I’ve ever been when parenting was over a dish of spaghetti.

It was around lunch time this past Christmas Eve, and one of my children (who loves every other form, shape and style of pasta, and shall remain nameless) decided that they were not going to eat spaghetti.

“I hate the texture of it,” was the declaration.

What followed was a literal back-and-forth of my own resolve to see my kid obey, and an obstinance like I’ve never seen out of a child. Of course, statements like, “There are starving children all over the world who would give ANYTHING for a plate of spaghetti on Christmas Eve!” had somewhere around zero effect.

I decided to relent during lunch, with the solemn warning that nothing else would be eaten that day, and that the plate of spaghetti WOULD be eaten before bedtime. Not long after we returned home from the evening’s candlelight service, I was starting to redline. I guess I had hoped that a quiet night’s reflection on the mystery of the virgin birth, the incarnation of the world’s Savior and the wonder of God’s redemptive plan might cause my wife’s wicked child to see the depravity of their sinful ways.

It didn’t.

Ohhhh no, it did not. Instead what emerged from our offspring was screaming, yelling and the eventual pronouncement, “YOU DON’T EVEN LOVE ME!!!”

On Christmas Eve–which last time I checked is the night before children get showered with sacrificial love in the form of gifts they don’t deserve.

“We… don’t… love… you???” was my question back.

That was it. The V-train had left the station and was headed nonstop to Temper Town. Woo-WOOOOOOO!

What came next was downright mythical. A blinding bolt of lightning. Thunderous shouting. Rivers of tears. Tomato sauce everywhere. And a child jamming spaghetti into their mouth as quickly and as angrily as one could imagine.

Ah, yes. ’Twas the night before Christmas, 2017. One to remember.

So why have I shared this story? Well, to warn you of the dangers of serving spaghetti on Christmas Eve, of course.

I also thought it might do us both some good if I did a bit of confessing, because I’m not sure if you’ve been there, but what started as my kid’s sinful behavior ended in my own. It turns out that though I may be older, I’m no less broken and in need of forgiveness than my children.

And what if that’s okay to admit to our kids? What if it’s okay to sit them down and say, “I’m sorry. I blew it. I’m no less a sinner than anyone else, and I’m asking you to forgive me.”

Though I’m not always the best at it, I’m convinced it’s that kind of open and honest confession that teaches the next generation about a greater confession–one that says to God, “I’m sorry. I blew it. I’m no less a sinner than anyone else. I’m asking you to forgive me, and I’m so thankful that you have.”

How can we expect them to admit their sin and shortcomings if we never do? Teaching our kids is equal parts showing them what’s right, and showing them what to do and where to turn when it’s all wrong.

Spaghetti Eve taught me something about sin, admission and forgiveness. I sincerely hope you learn something from it too.

Now here’s a nice marinara recipe.

No, I’m serious. This is a nice recipe.


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