UPDATE 1/29/10: I have changed this "traditional" recipe now to use traditional, real fats: half butter and half coconut oil. My mom and I both did this for Thanksgiving and the pie crusts came out even better than usual. Yum!
I made pastry dough today using a family recipe. It came from my mother's family, I don't know how far back. It may not be ancient, but it makes really good pie. I was amused at how easy it was for me to make compared to other recipes, it seemed like my hands just knew what they were doing, and my fingers knew when the texture was just right. I have been making this pastry since I was little; watching my mother at first and playing with the dough, then trying my own pies and hearing my dad say (with a twinkle in his eye) "It's good... just needs a little more practice!" So now, it's natural to me. I don't get lost in the recipe, I don't forget the ingredients, there is nothing to figure out. The pies come out great, and Dad still says "Just a little more practice!"
While I was mixing my dough today, I was wishing that parenting was more like making pastry. In fact, I used to think that it was. You follow the recipe, you make a good kid. You raise your children the way you were taught (in my case, coming from a loving home) and things will work out fine. Don't have an old family recipe for raising children? Never fear, just choose one from Dr. Dobson, Michael Pearl, or even Super Nanny! Read the books, follow the steps, and the result will be one nice shining kid.
Anyone who is a parent knows it doesn't work like that. I don't even have a great analogy for parenting, I don't think it fits one. My experience with parenting isn't even the same with each child, and yours would be quite different from mine. The closest thing I can think of at the moment is mining and cutting diamonds. It's hard work, messy, takes forever, and then each diamond has to be cut to bring out the radience of the individual stone. The best part of that analogy is that only a diamond can cut a diamond. So both diamonds are being shaped in the process. We are not creating children like we create a pie, we are being used to shape them. And we too, are being changed.
I need my experience with parenting to conform me into the image of Christ. I form my pastry into pie, and pray that I will be as pliable in his hands. But not quite so flaky.