Kneading The Bread

     Last Christmas, Ginny gave me something Iíve always wanted, a bread maker. It takes ten minutes to put the ingredients into the machine and turn it on. Four hours later, I have a wonderful loaf of bread.

     As much as I love my new machine, when I have time, I like to make bread the old way. The dough squeezing through my fingers is somehow comforting. At first itís a bit messy, but after it has risen the first time, I knead it again. This time the dough is soft and smooth. I get lost in thought, as I turn the dough over and over. The repetitive motion is relaxing, almost hypnotizing.

     I let the dough rise again, pop it in the oven, and soon the house is full of itís heavenly aroma. When itís done, I wait for it to cool enough to cut that first delicious slice. As I wait, I admire it. Itís a work of art, shaped and molded with time and experience.

     I looked at my son the other day and realized, raising children is a lot like making a loaf of bread. At first, they are tiny and helpless and yes, even messy. All the ingredients are there to create a fine human being, but we have to knead, mold, and shape them, until they rise into fine adults.

     Most children reach a stage, usually in their mid to late teens, where they resist the kneading. They think they no longer need our guidance or advice and believe theyíre ready to take on the world. Just like the first rising of the dough, we have to let them be for a bit. We need to give them space to grow and learn on their own.

     Somewhere in their twenties, they change again, and once more seek our advice. Itís time for the second kneading. This time, however, like the dough, they are softer and ready to be kneaded and molded. They accept the fact, that we do indeed know what we are doing, and allow us to shape them the final time.

     My son is not ready for his second kneading, but the time will come. When it does, Iíll take time to knead and mold him the final time. Afterward, Iíll be able to look at him and say to myself, ďHeís a work of art, created with time and experience.Ē

     I think Iím going to have a fine loaf when Iím done.

~ Michael T. Smith ~

[ By: Michael T. Smith Copyright © 2005, (mtsmith @ -- submitted by: Michael T. Smith ]


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