I LOVE ice cream. Some of my favorite memories are of me and my family eating ice cream. When we were kids, my mom loved to make homemade ice cream in a bucket that had an old fashioned crank. My brother and I took turns until our arms nearly fell off and then it was up to dad to finish the job. It was a lot of hard work but whenever she started dishing up the ice cream all thoughts of sore biceps were forgotten as we engorged on that whipped, creamy goodness.
When we first moved to Samoa from the United States, I remember driving into Apia on the back of our pick-up truck. We were all crammed in there, the light tropical wind blowing our hair in a dozen directions, the salty mist blowing in from the harbor and only one thought on our minds – ice cream at Isa’s Ice Cream Shop. It was a bonding moment that pushed aside any petty differences, disagreements or mischevious thoughts. When you had an ice cream cone in your hand, everyone around you was your best friend.
Nothing makes me feel like I’m closer to heaven like a bowl of ice cream. Think about it – When you are angry with someone what is the first thing you say to them?
Let’s go get an ice cream and talk about it. Right?
When you feel like slapping that loud and annoying woman on the sidelines at football games because she just called your son a ‘fairy’ what do you do? You ask her if she wants some ice cream…then you slap her.
When that guy at the plumbing supply store gives you the wrong part to repair your toilet for the third time in a row what do you suggest that he do? You tell him that he needs to eat more ice cream because it will clear his mind…and his plumbing.
Why do I think ice cream is the remedy for all that ails us and the salve that can mend all the hurt and heartache we experience from time to time? And how does it bring us closer? Simple. It just does. You’re not going to get any scientific methods out of me. I just know that whenever ice cream is involved, there’s going to be a good, relaxed conversation. Ice cream somehow eases the tension. Maybe it has something to do with the wonderful cool flavors? Maybe it has to do with how it fills the belly? Whatever the reason, ice cream should carry a label – “Best when used by two people who are going to have a serious talk.”
And here are some conversations with your child that I recommend you have over a bowl of that incredible, soothing, flavorful cream:
- “I had a bad day at school today” — No parent wants to hear that and the first thing you want to do is drive down to the school, have them point out the bullies and smack every one of them upside the head. Now who’s the bully? Instead, scoop out some Rocky Road, tell them there will be good days and there will be bad days. Life on the playground is every bit a learning experience as the things you learn in the classroom. Ease into the conversation about finding good friends who will love and support you through the rough times and smile with you on the good days. Even the popular kids have bad days. Let your kid know that they are loved and that you are always available to talk and give them support.
- “I can’t seem to make up my mind about one thing or the other” — Pull out the Neapolitan, sit your kid down and as they dig into that yummy mixture of vanilla and chocolate separated by that pink, luscious mediator strawberry you tell them that we all have different ways of doing things. Sometimes we have so many options, so many moral dilemma’s that our minds have a hard time sorting through the mess. No worries, sometimes the only bad decision is not making a decision at all. So consider all the positives and negatives, make a decision and we’ll stand by that decision together.
- “I’m going to miss you guys so much!” — Wedding? College? Just moving to another city or State for an opportunity? They are all major steps in a child’s life. Sit down and have a bowl of Sherbet with them. Technically its not ice cream but its cold, it tastes good and though it is bitter and sweet at the same time, it kind of defines this moment in your life. As your parents we’ll be sad to see them go too, but think of all the wonderful things that are about to happen in life. They can always come home, but we can’t keep them from experiencing the best that life has to offer.