Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Soda Machine Parable

When I was little I was made fun of a LOT.  I even had a teacher join in the fun one day right in the middle of my English class.  He was a male teacher and spent about 10 minutes checking out my outfit and telling me what he liked and didn't like about what I was wearing, and he did it right in the middle of his class to.  It hurt when other kids would say things, but it REALLY hurt when it was a teacher tearing me down.  I remember coming home that day and going into my room and crying over the words he said.  I also remember crying often over the words other kids would say about me too.  Well, the day that teacher riped me apart I also remember crying at school and another teacher gave me this little piece of advice.  The teacher said, "You have to be like a soda machine."
For the life of me, I had no idea what this teacher was talking about at the time.
The teacher said, "People put their money into the soda machine, and they expect a soda to come out. But what if, one day, the soda machine decides to stop giving sodas"
"You see," the teacher went on, "The kids (or in this case, that other teacher) here at school are putting money into you, except they're not using their money....they are using their words, and they expect a reaction from you."  "All they want is the reaction. They'll put in all the money they have, they'll hurt you with word after word. What they're looking for, is the reaction. YOU control whether or not they get the soda (the reaction) or not."  The teacher then leaned in close and whispered,....."Don't give them one." 
The teacher sat back and said, "You know....if that doesn't work, and it's a boy, you know he's just teasing you because he likes you."
Over the years my Mom tried to tell me this, but it wasn't until that teacher shared what I now call the Soda Machine Parable, that it finally hit me in a profound way.  This teacher was using their words for good.  Others had used their words for harm.
I came home that night and then back to school the next day, and I tried to practice what the teacher had taught me the day before.  The first few times, I gave them sodas.  It was harder than I thought to not give the reaction everyone expected.
Eventually, someone threatened me and said, "I wanna beat you up!"
This time I replied, "Get in line,....take a number.....everyone else does too!"  I said it jokingly, but it really took them aback.  They didn't expect those words from me.  They weren't expecting that reaction.   Little by little, person by person, mocker by mocker, teaser by teaser, I learned to stop dispensing them sodas. AND IT WORKED....they started to leave me alone, because they weren't getting the reaction they wanted.  Until there was just one boy left.  I thought about what that teacher had said, and I thought to myself, "I wonder if he likes me?"  The next time he teased me, I told him that I knew he did.  He of course played it off like he didn't.  "Ew gross, You...Me like you.....no way!"  But the next time he came around and tried to tease me, I said it in front of his friends.  After that, he wasn't so quick to tease me anymore.  Later I found out that he did in fact like me.  (Go figure!)
Mean people have all sorts of reasons to be mean.  Perhaps you've said something you didn't intend to hurt them, and they took it hurtfully, and retaliated against you, saying all kinds of untrue evil things.  Perhaps, you've done nothing at all and they just like to mock you daily for what they think is fun.  People mock others usually over things they do not understand.  I have been mocked for my faith, sometimes even now on a daily basis.  That's right, adults deal with mean people mocking them even as adults.  They were the ones mocking and teasing kids at your school, they have just grown up to become adult mean people who mock and tease other adults.  I've even had other admit what they were doing and that they do these things on purpose to try to get me to turn away from what I believe or do something I feel to be wrong.  In their eyes, (without saying the words) I was a good person that rarely messed up. (Remember, this is through their eyes, not in actuality, because I'll tell you the truth, I mess up often!  I sin more than I care to admit or even want to.  sometimes it just happens.)  It was hard for me to wrap my head around why an adult would want me to fail.  To mess up.  When this happens the Parable of the Soda Machine comes to mind, and I start trying as hard as I can, not to give those
"mean-sayers" any of my sodas.  
Sometimes I messed up and gave them a soda.  But during those years, I learned a valuable lesson.  My Heavenly Father was molding me and teaching me.  I often thought I was learning this the hard way, but he was teaching me none-the-less.  It took a conscious effort on my part to not say something mean back to these people or give them a soda, especially when they said all sorts of untrue and evil things about me.  
It became a little game for me.  Them always trying to get a soda by any means necessary, and me trying my absolute best to do what my Heavenly Father would do and what I knew He wanted me to do, to not give them a soda.  I even cried my eyes out when these adults weren't around (I couldn't let them see that they were getting to me.)  If I were to let them see that they were getting to me, it would have been just like giving them a soda.  That's what they wanted.  So, I cried in secret in front of my family, in bed at night, in the shower sometimes, or even in my car.  I even remember crying in secret for what seemed like three years straight.
And during those years, my Heavenly Father shaped me.  I'm stronger now because of my experiences with those mean people.  I'm stronger now because I've been mocked and persecuted my whole life. If not by one person, by another.  And I've found it to be true, that boys often mock and persecute a girl when they like you....at ANY age!  How crazy is that?!
So, I have been mocked.  I have been teased.  I have been accused falsely of things I would NEVER do.  It has always been a part of my life.  BUT, one thing is certain, I, and I alone, control whether or not they get a soda from me. 
It can be hard.  Especially when you care about the person persecuting you.  But sometimes you have to realize that it's THEIR problem,.....not yours.  
Are you mocked, teased, or falsely accused but someone?  Do they say mean or evil things about you?  
Have hope!  Be a soda machine.
Don't give them ANY of your sodas.
Don't react to them.
Realize, it's their problem not yours.
You just keep following and obeying the commandments your Heavenly Father has given you the best you can, and they will fall because they will trip all by themselves.  
I found this wonderful recipe Lexi and I will have to try out.  Take a look
Strawberry Citrus Slushy

2 cups fresh lemonade
1 cup frozen strawberries
Juice from 1 lemon
4 drops lemon essential oil
4 drops lime essential oil
3 cups ice
2 droppers full of Alcohol Free NuStevia or 3 Tablespoons white sugar

Step 1: Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth or reaches the desire consistency
Makes 4 servings

It's been a busy day, and I will admit, I wasn't the best I could be today.  I came home cranky, tired,  and I was mean.  Mean to my family.  Mean to the dogs.  I shifted sides this time.  It's not something I am proud of.  It's something I need to work on and I will.  I just hope my family will be patient with me as I adjust to a few things and the changes taking place in my life.  I'm sorry for being mean and for not being a better person.  I promise to try harder and to work on it.  Enough said.

Take care my friends and we will talk again soon.

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