“That’s one memory I’ll never forget.”
That’s how the conversation began.
“I’ll always remember that sugar-cube castle,” our older teen daughter told me.
My mind did a quick shuffle, sorting through thousands of files, until the right image came up. Oh, yes. I remember now. But why? Why did that particular memory stand out so?
The children were young – six of them under the age of nine years. The youngest babies weren’t too much trouble, but the “older” girls were giving me grief. They had picked up the very bad habit of picking at each other. A little snide remark here and a slight put-down there.
It was a very destructive habit and I knew it.
So one night as I lay there crying out to the Lord for wisdom, this idea came to me. It wasn’t one that I’d read about in a book or article; it just popped into my head out of nowhere. The nearest thing to a vision.
And in this dream, I pictured a little house made all out of sugar cubes. It was beautiful and sweet, made with the hands of my own dear young girls.
Along with the picture came this particular verse:
The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands (Proverbs 14:1).
With that a plan was set in motion….
The very next day I announced enthusiastically that we were going do a craft together. What great fun!
So all that morning we built a lovely home made out of nothing but sugar cubes and frosted mortar. We were like sugarplum fairies in a storybook. And, oh, when it was done – such a charming sight to see!
As we worked, I shared with the girls that we were like the wise woman who builds up her home, adding a caution that we should be careful not to tear it down. To this they happily agreed and we all drifted into the kitchen to fix some lunch.
But good intentions are not always enough to overcome bad habits. And, sure enough, the little tearing-down remarks soon started up.
I didn’t say anything this time, however, but merely walked over to our Sweet Home and carefully, deliberately, pulled one of the cubes out of its special place. A dark, gaping hole was left staring its ugliness at us all.
A horrified gasp!
Once again, I gently explained that every time one of us “tears” at each other, we are essentially tearing down our house. The reverse is true as well: each time we lift each other up, we are building it up.
So if that “hole” in the wall bothered them—and believe me, it did enormously!—it would help them remember what they were essentially doing to our own home. That if they wanted to build up, to create and to make beautiful, they would need to say something kind and uplifting instead.
After that, I rarely said a word. I would either quietly remove – or add – blocks as was necessary.
I can’t say how long this went on—maybe a few weeks? But this picture did more for them than all my lectures and corrections seemed to have done in the months previous. I really do wonder now if it was a heavenly vision after all.
My hope is that it brings Good Memories – and a Sweet Home – for many years to come. And I hope the same for your home too.
In His grace,