On being Responsible: With help from my son, Paul!

 Years and years ago, while I was studying at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, I would take my family to Cheyenne where we could buy groceries at the ‘big box’ rate – a considerable savings for a graduate student.  After searching through the ‘big box’ store, we’d stop at Peterson’s Cafeteria to have lunch.  The food at Peterson’s really was the best, and it was ‘Eat All You Want’!  For a growing family, this was delightful!

    At the beginning of the cafeteria line, the Peterson’s management had posted a large sign which announced: “Take All You Want, But Eat All You Take”!  (My grandmother had a similar message that went like this:  “Waste Not, Want Not!” We could put food on our own plate, but we were obliged then to eat it all!) So that became the lesson which we’d repeat every time we ate at Peterson’s!  Little did I know that this message would be solidly implanted in the minds of my children, but that they, as adults, could transfer that wisdom to other life situations. The message suggests that we all have choices, but with those choices come sets of responsibility.

    I was reminded of all of this when I received, this morning, a note from my son Paul.  We were pleased to share with him the joy of a cat, who had adopted him in the Denver area, having six kittens!  SIX KITTENS!  Paul was inquiring if we wanted one of them!  And, we chatted back and forth about the carelessness of some people who have animals, don’t properly care for them, sometimes people neglect to have the pets spayed or neutered when they don’t want to have more kittens around, and as we all know, people are sometimes negligent in the care of their children or even themselves and their personal affairs.  Paul had clearly made the point that there are times when people’s carelessness or neglect can cause a mess that later on someone else has to clean up!  And, he likened these people who might have come into Peterson’s Cafeteria, filled their plates over and over again being totally unaware of their responsibility to ‘Eat All You Take’, thus leaving the mess for others to ‘clean up’!  Paul wondered if his analogy was parallel to the reality, and the more I thought about it, the more I believe his thoughts – his message could be delivered to many people. 

    *When you take more merchandise into your home than you can afford so you use your credit cards and incur huge indebtedness, someone might suggest you read the symbolic message: “Take All You Want, But Eat All You Take”!

    *When a home is offered for sale advertising, “Interest Only Financing”, the potential buyers might read the symbolic message: “Take All You Want, But Eat All You Take”!

    *When someone consumes too much alcohol and believes that ‘driving home will cause no problems’, we need to deliver a strong symbolic message: “Take All You Want, But Eat All You Take”!

    *When children give birth to children and often enter into marriage at a tender age, someone might wisely offer the counsel that they may be ‘taking on’ more responsibility than they can be expected to handle when they’re so young and innocent – we might share the wisdom contained in that cafeteria message: “Take All You Want, But Eat All You Take”!

    I’m confident that your mind is going at full speed now, hopefully filled with many other examples of the irresponsible nature of ‘Taking More Than We Can Eat!”  I’d truly enjoy hearing from you!


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