A Lesson in Choices

They say, “Be careful what you wish for,” right?  What would you say if you had the choice to eat only candy all day, or eat only regular food for the day?

Well, my high-spirited husband spontaneously decided to pose this dilemma to our three daughters last week.  I listened intently from the bedroom as the commotion ensued.

“What would you rather have- only candy for the rest of the day?  Or only real food and no candy? Once you choose you can’t go back.”  he told them, as I thought, “What is he, crazy?  What in the world…? ” from the other room.

But it was too late to run in and try to get him to think about the territory into which he stepped.  I had to stand aside and let the situation play out.

You see, my oldest daughter HipChick (9) figured out right away that she would rather have food than candy, so the decision was easy for her.  My youngest (4)  perked up at first at the thought of candy for breakfast, but taking cues from her eldest sister, she decided that real food would be best.

My middle child, Princess (6) is kind of a different animal. She’s pretty impulsive and is sometimes confused by the correlation between actions and consequences.  She’s also a dreamer, which can be a great thing!  However, at this point in time, her dreams of mountains of candy all day invaded her mind and crowded out all sense of reason.

She chose the candy.  Nothing but candy.  All day.

Princess grinned through breakfast as her sisters ate cereal, while she chomped on her Smarties.  Literally 10 minutes Children Choiceslater, Princess realized she was still hungry.  But after getting her instand candy gratification, she realized she needed a real breakfast.

“Well, darling, you chose the candy, so you can have more candy if you want.”

“But I want cereal, now.  I’m hungry.”

“I gave you a choice.  Your sisters chose breakfast, and you chose candy.  You knew you’d have to eat candy for the rest of the day.”

Oh, boy, the fury of tears and desperate pleas after this exchange were painful for me to hear. I started out silently challenging my husband, “You’ve really done it this time….”


Every time he would reason with her about her choice, she would start screaming, ” I wanted candy, but now I want FOOD! IT’S NOT FAIR!! YOU’RE MEAN!” {more sobbing}

I wondered  how in the world this was going to end. What had started out as a fun experiment was looking like a train wreck.  As long as she defiantly refused to admit she made the wrong choice, Judd was firm.  She had to live with her choice.

As the situation continued, I realized how wise (if impulsive) my husband was. You see, Princess admittedly has a disconnect between choices and consequences, so this lesson is essential for her to learn.  But oh, how hard it was to listen to the manifestations of her regret.

She came crying to me, and I hugged her.  “Mommy, Daddy won’t feed me….”  {crocodile tears and some extra drama} So I tried to explain to her that Daddy wasn’t doing this TO her, but that she had made a bad choice. She was feeling the pain of her bad choice, and it wasn’t anyone else’s fault.  I saw the realization in her eyes, but she wasn’t going to admit it.  Apparently, she inherited stubbornness from one of us. (ahem)

I tried to throw her a rescue line, “Sweetie, here’s what you need to do: admit that you made a bad choice, and confess to daddy that you were wrong.” After a split second of considering it, she broke my hug and ran away to put on a great show of sobbing in her room.

The second time she tried to come garner my sympathy, I hugged her tight and repeated my advice.  This time, humility entered into her psyche and she sheepishly took the direction. ” Go tell daddy you’re sorry for making the wrong choice and ask if you can have another chance to do the right thing.”

It was beautiful, hearing that exchange, “Daddy, I’m sorry I chose the wrong thing.  I really wanted candy for breakfast, but I didn’t think about the rest of the day. Will you forgive me?” And I really think God’s blanket of healing descended upon Princess’ heart that day.  She has been different ever since, realizing she has control over how she chooses to react to things.  There have been a few struggles, but they last a lot shorter than they use to!

And as I write this, I can’t help but think: Even with my Father in Heaven, haven’t I chosen “candy” over “food,” and felt the consequences?  Have I ever shaken my fist at Him and said “this isn’t fair,” when it was MY choice  that hurt me?

Have you?

I shared this at Nicole Wick’s “Your Best Blog Now”

About Sarah Pinnix

I'm a mom, blogger, vlogger, libertarian. I love Jesus, and my husband, too. Social Media Strategist for a Non-Profit (All statements here are solely my own)


  1. Sarah, what a beautiful story! During the Easter season it’s even more special to share those teachable moments with our children! Kudos to your husband for creating that moment! Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – My Beloved =-.


  2. Coma Girl says:

    Wow, that is a great story! Kudos to your hubby for thinking of it and sticking to his guns.

    Although I do have a 19yo step-son who does choose candy over real food for ever.single.meal. Can I hire your husband? 😉
    .-= Coma Girl´s last blog ..Mommy Management Monday – Shopping List =-.


    Twitter: reallifesarah

    Haha! I think it only works on kids under 10! Although I’ms sure he could think of something!


  3. So touching. Its great to see parents teaching their kids at an early age about life’s decisions and consequences. Great Job, Sarah and Judd!
    .-= Jason Houck´s last blog ..How To Score On A Telephone Interview =-.


  4. That is really sweet. Your husband is very wise. You guys are doing a great job showing and teaching your daughters. 🙂
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..Using Shapes to Create Pictures =-.


  5. Alyssa
    Twitter: alyssaavant

    WOw that was quite an experiment and a wonderful lesson too.
    .-= Alyssa´s last blog ..Freezer Cooking Planning =-.


  6. Athalia
    Twitter: athaliacritcher

    Read this aloud to my mountain man, who responded, “I love that blog.”
    Thank you for sharing this story, your thoughts and the introspective challenge.
    .-= Athalia´s last blog ..Barefoot in the Kitchen =-.


    Twitter: reallifesarah

    Ha! Thanks Athalia, and mountain man!


  7. Towanda
    Twitter: TowandaL

    That was a great way to teach a valuable lesson! Not only am I keeping this idea for a day when I need it for the girls, it’s a great reminder for me.

    There’s also another lesson I got from your youngest. Sometimes when we can’t see the big picture it’s best to look at someone wiser. I’m calling my mother now… 🙂


    Twitter: reallifesarah

    That is awesome, Towanda! I didn’t even think about that, but you are right! Mentors are so important!


  8. Sarah Baron
    Twitter: a8forwomen

    Okay, this is a8forwomen, Sarah Baron. Great story! Even better lesson. But the subtle thing here, at least from my perspective, is that you and your husband were a team on this one. You couldn’t have done this alone. Kudos!


  9. Lucretia M Pruitt says:

    Love this Sarah.
    Have been trying to work on the “choices/consequences” thing here in our house as well… and it hit home hard.

    This was a brilliant way to examine it.

    It didn’t click for me until I was in my 20’s and someone pointed out to me that she didn’t blame her mother for her failures or issues in life, because if her mother had that kind of power? Then she also had to give her mom credit for all of the successes in life…

    I must own my own mistakes if I am desirous of owning the good choices. 🙂

    Now, if only I don’t have to do the candy-for-food option!!
    .-= Lucretia M Pruitt´s last blog ..Another Top 10 Tips to Survive & Thrive at SXSWi =-.


  10. Beautiful Sarah


  11. Your husband is very wise indeed. Thank you for sharing this; it is a gentle reminder that sometimes the consequences we are facing are a direct result of our own bad choices. Not fun to experience but necessary for us to grow. Thanks


  12. awesome story and life application. i guess we do that all too often with our Dad.

    thanks for sharing, Sarah. i’m glad i stumbled upon your blog 🙂

    .-= Zee´s last blog ..[hollow words] =-.


  13. Oh my goodness! I love this post. I can’t believe your husband did that… I think I would have killed Jesse! What a great life (and spiritual) lesson.

    P.S. Thanks for the link love 🙂
    .-= @nicolewick´s last blog ..Your Best Blog Now =-.


  14. Fred Jones says:

    ***These are thoughts, this isnt necessarily how it is***
    Anyone who claims to actually know how it is, is probably looking
    to control you, alomst certainly not in your best interest.

    Live a life that forces you to learn intimiatley about yourself and
    other people, this cannot be done without face to face, small group
    conversation and activity, and personal solitude.

    At all costs, live a life that is conducive to allowing yourself and
    others to do what they think is the right, do not prohibit or judge
    others from doing what they think is right, as others should not
    prohibit or judge you from doing the same. If people are doing
    something, and particiaption is fully willing, you have no right or
    moral interest in interfering. A situation without other options is
    not considered willing.

    The ‘after life’ is beautiful, infinite, and completly incomprehnsible;
    nothing you do on earth affects in anyway what
    you are to expereince in the ‘after life.’ Your actions during your
    life do, however, affect the happiness of other people, at all costs,
    seek a life that enhances the happiness of others, for that is what
    life is about.

    Life is not about effiencency, universal rules, seeking to avoid death
    or pain, et cetera. Life is about happiness. The method to achieveing it
    is different for every person and for them to discover and change and
    refine, or not, as they live.

    Happiness cannot be forced on other people for their own good through
    an involuntary system, forced circumstance, or lack of options.
    People are free to live as rediculously as they wish if that is their
    choosing in the personal pursuit of happiness.

    If your happiness requires that another person’s happiness is reduced or
    diminished then you are evil, seek help from happy people.
    Be sure to set yourself on a path toward happiness before intensely helping
    others that are able to set themselves on a path toward happeinss.

    Do no confuse happiness with pleasure, or other short-term-only feelings.
    The happiness mentioned here is the Greek ‘eudaimonia’ meaning, study it.



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