Need Food for Thought? Chew on this!

* "Chew on This: Fifty-Two Inspirational Points to Ponder" is a book of inspirational short stories by Gary Brock and Kelly Tuck, and is available for purchase here!

*Words of wisdom for inspirational thought are at the end of the story!


“But, I don’t want to do my math homework right now,” my son huffed.

“Well, buddy, I’m sorry,” I sighed. “No math homework, no computer time.”

“That’s not fair,” he grumbled.

“That’s life,” I replied. “It’s not always fair.” Wow, I’d pulled that one from the old memory bank – both my parents had used that line on me one time or another. Deciding I’d be better off switching to encouragement, I said, “Joe, bring your math book to the kitchen table. I’ll sit here too and finish up some work I brought home from the office while you do your homework. We’ll be working on ‘homework’ together.”

The ghost of a smile was evident on his face before he left to retrieve his book bag. When he returned, I asked, “What is it tonight – all even or all odd?”

“It’s both,” he muttered. “All fifty of them…I really don’t want to do this.”

I replied, “Son, remember, you do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do, and you’re not there yet.”

“Well, I’ll sure be glad when I get there,” he sighed, plopping into the chair next to me before dropping his math textbook on the table with a thud.

Geez, I thought to myself, watching him despondently flip through the book’s pages, all of this over some addition and subtraction.

* * * * *

“I don’t want to practice the piano today,” my daughter said with narrowed eyes.

“Sorry, baby, we have an agreement,” I sighed, staring down at her. “You are the one that wanted to learn how to play the piano, and you agreed that as long as you were taking lessons that you would practice thirty minutes a day.”

“Well, I don’t want to take piano anymore,” she huffed. “I want to quit.”

“That’s not happening. We made a one year commitment and have already paid. You have another three months to go unless you change your mind and want to keep going. Tickle those ivories. No if’s, and’s, or but’s.” Wow, that’s another one from the old memory bank.

“Well, I’m not happy about it,” she replied, stalking over to the piano.

“I’m going to tell you like I have told your brother,” I responded dryly. “You do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.” She dropped down dramatically on the piano stool and angrily flung open her piano song book. This is like pulling teeth, I thought to myself.

* * * * *

“Come on! Jump in, man! You’re driving.”

“I’m tired, Dad,” Joe said wearily. “I don’t want to drive today.”

I stared at my son incredulously. “Yo, dude, you want your license as soon as you turn sixteen, don’t you? Drive! We have to get your hours in.”

“But I’m tired; I had a hard practice today, and I don’t want to”

“Okay,” I began with forced patience, “so next year when you’re tired from practice, you have your license and a car, how are you going to get home? Walk? Your mother nor I are coming to pick you up.”

“I’ll drive then, I’ll have to! But today I just don’t want to.” Joe said in exasperation.

I stated emphatically, “You’re driving. Like I have told you before, you do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. Next year this time, you’ll thank me.”

After throwing his gear in the back seat. Joe snatched the keys from my hand, plopped into the front seat, and slammed the door. I walked around the car slowly to let the steam roll off my shoulders, and somewhat smiled when I remembered my father telling me, “I hope you have one just like you one day.” I guess his hopes had come true.

* * * * *

“Renee, I need for you to finish up your college application today,” I hollered upstairs. “We really need to get this in the mail if you’re going to have a shot of getting into the state university.”

“I’ll get to it first thing tomorrow, Dad,” she called back from her room.

“Why not today?”

“I just finished up the essay for my senior project and I don’t feel like it right now,” she replied. “I don’t want to today. I need a break from school work.”

“That’s what you’ve said for the last week. We need to get this knocked out. Let’s go, come on.” My feet planted themselves on the bottom stairs in case I had to trek up there. “I’ll help you get it done. Getting it done and mailed is one less thing we have to worry about.”

“But I don’t want to, Dad,” she groaned. My mouth opened to reply, but she already knew what was coming her way. “I know, I know,” she said sarcastically, “you do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.”

“You got that right,” I shot back with a fair amount of sarcasm. All of a sudden, I heard loud footsteps barreling down the upstairs hallways, and I braced myself for some attitude.

* * * * *

Several years later when my children were home from college for Thanksgiving break, we found ourselves sitting around talking. After a little bit of reminiscing, they plunged into the “do you remember when…” game and would then set off into an animated monologue about something I did or said, sometimes pretty factual and sometimes pure fantasy. All in all, it was a good time and I remained a good sport through all the little jabs and nudges tossed playfully my way.

All of a sudden, both of them looked at each other and, kind of shaking their heads from side to side, said, “But Dad’s favorite thing to say was ‘you do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do,’ isn’t that right, Dad?”

“Yes,” I chuckled, “but, you know, there is actually a little more to that now that you’re both preparing to enter the work force and finding your way in life.”

“We hope so,” they replied, “because we’re certainly not doing what we want to do yet.”

Smiling and lifting my finger in the air, I said, “The complete thought is ‘do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do, and more importantly . . . . . .

* * * * * * *



* * * * * * *

*Chew On This: Fifty-Two Inspirational Points to Ponder is available for purchase here!

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