In Which I Tell “The Parable of the Cookies”

A father stepped out of the house, for a time. He’d not been gone long before his son headed straight for the kitchen and the jar full of cookies therein.

“What are you doing?” the boy’s sister asked.

The boy rolled his eyes. “What does it look like I’m doing?”

“Disobeying Dad,” the girl answered. “He said we’re not supposed to eat those.”

“But they’re cookies,” said the boy. “I love cookies. I really want cookies right now.”

“That’s too bad, because you’re not allowed to have them.”

The boy turned to look at his sister. “Why do you hate me?”

Cookie Jar

The girl blinked in confusion. “Who says I hate you? I don’t hate you.”

“Obviously you do, because you don’t want me to have any cookies – cookies which, as previously stated, I very much desire. You’ve got some nerve hating me for loving cookies. Isn’t Dad always saying how families are supposed to love each other?”

“Um, I do love you. That’s why I’m trying to keep you from getting in trouble with Dad who, as previously stated, told us we’re not supposed to eat the cookies.”

The boy crossed his arms with a scowl. “I never heard him say any such thing.”

“Well, he said it.”

“Liar. You’re making it up just so I can’t have any cookies.”

“Why in the world would I do that?”

“Duh,” said the boy. “You’re not into cookies. You’re all about, like, applesauce and stuff. Just because you like applesauce, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get cookies. You eat your snacks, I’ll eat mine. What’s it got to do with you, anyway?”

“I just don’t want you to get in trouble,” the girl pleaded.

“I’m not going to get in trouble! Know why? ‘Cause nobody cares whether I eat cookies except you, you sad, hateful little girl. Tell you what: How about instead of trying to dictate my life, you just chill out and accept the fact that I love cookies and I’mma eat ‘em. More than accept it, you should embrace it! My love of cookies is part of what makes me who I am. I am a cookie-lover, and y’know what? That’s awesome. Cookie-lovers unite!”

“Look,” said the girl. “I know you love cookies, okay? I know they’re your favorite, and it’s great to see you as happy as cookies seem to make you. If it were up to me, I’d gladly let you have all the cookies you can eat! But Dad—”

“Would you shut up about Dad?!” the boy exploded. “Stop pretending this is about Dad! Even if Dad said anything about the cookies, which he totally didn’t, he would love me anyway, because parents always love their kids, no matter what.”

“Parents also make rules,” the girl pointed out. “Rules generally prompted by love. Rules with consequences for breaking them.”

“Oh, please, like all of a sudden you care about Dad’s rules? Where was all your ‘Dad says, Dad says’ when you stayed up an hour past bedtime, last week? Or that time when you left the garage door open all night? Or when you ‘forgot’ to feed the dog because you were too busy playing computer games?”

“So, wait,” said the girl. “Because I’m not one hundred percent perfect all the time, I’m not allowed to tell you when I think you’re making a mistake? I’m just supposed to stand back and let you do whatever you want without a word, even if I’m convinced it is a really bad choice that you’ll probably come to regret? That doesn’t sound like love at all.”

“Shows what you know about love,” said the boy, shoving a cookie into his mouth. “Mmm, yum, this right here is love. Have fun being a hater, sis. When you’ve seen the light and are ready to apologize, you know where I’ll be.”

Sighing in sadness and frustration, the girl left her brother in the kitchen, really wishing their Dad would hurry up and come home.

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