By John Pierce

One of my favorite newspaper columns by the late Lewis Grizzard argued somewhat humorously that in adulthood we seek those things that were forbidden by our parents. He used his own experience with chocolate-covered donuts as an example.

No matter how hard he begged, Grizzard said his mother would never buy him chocolate-covered donuts — so he could not resist them as an adult.

He applied his logic to gun ownership. Young Lewis sported jewel-studded holsters with play guns that allowed him to pretend to be all of his cowboy heroes. As a result, he said, he never felt a need to own a real gun as an adult.

Grizzard surmises that those with NRA stickers plastered on their trucks were likely denied a good make-believe shoot-out with a brother, cousin or neighbor. Then he closed with his own idea for a bumper sticker: “I’ll give up my chocolate-covered donut when they pry my cold, dead fingers off of it.”

[Now I use Grizzard’s humorous approach as a lead-in. So this is not an invitation to discuss gun control. I have to put in such warnings on certain subjects.]

My experience that most closely mirrors that of Grizzard plays out each time I build a crunchy peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich.

The only peanut butter my mother ever bought was Peter Pan Smooth. Time and again, in the aisles of Carlock Brothers Grocery in beautiful Boynton, Ga., I begged for some crunchy peanut butter to no avail.

As an adult, I eat all of the crunchy peanut butter I want. I do it with same resolve that former President George H. W. Bush once declared he would never eat broccoli again that was forced in him as a child.

If Grizzard is right, that we want as adults what we were denied as children, then parenting is even a bigger challenge. At least chocolate donuts and peanut butter (we keep both smooth and crunchy on hand) will not be issues for our daughters.

As I watch and read the news, and see so much dysfunctional behavior among those who are charged with responsible leadership, I have to wonder what they were once denied. And for many of us, we tend to focus attention on what we wish we had rather than what is so generously ours.

Sheryl Crow sings: “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.”

Or as the Apostle Paul, much earlier and probably with less rhythm, put it: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11 (NIV)



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