Wisdom at Walmart

I had my granddaughter, Caitlin, over for a fun day of baking cookies. First we had a few errands to run and then we would go home and bake. She was excited in the way a five-year-old is excited about making a mess and having something sweet to eat while Grandma cleaned up.

The day did not go as planned. All the errands took twice as long as I had planned. Looking at a clock I realized there was no way we would bake cookies and be done by the time her Dad picked her up. I had a brainstorm, I would go to Wal-Mart, buy some cookie dough in a roll and we could bake them in less than 30 minutes. She had been so patient, so good and uncomplaining, I would even buy her a toy. I asked her what toy she would like and she said "A Ken doll so Barbie can have him drive her in her car."

At the doll section she found three Ken dolls. One had a cell phone as an accessory, one had skates and one had sunglasses. She had some tough decisions to make. As she pondered, I looked at the shelves high above her line of vision, I noticed another male doll, this one was great, he had a bunch of accessories, including a surf board, a camera, camping gear, extra clothing, and best of all he was cheaper and to my thinking a lot better looking than her choices. I pulled him off the shelf to show her.

"No Grandma, he is a fake Ken" she said.

"A fake Ken?", I asked "He looks like the other dolls, does it really matter if he is a real Ken doll?"

"Yes, ‘cos he cannot bend here and here" she said pointing at his waist and legs. "So he cannot sit in the car, he is no good for Barbie."

After giving the ‘fake’ Ken longing glances, he had such cool accessories, she chose the real Ken that had a cell phone. He bent in all the right places and he was exactly what she wanted. Now he could even call Barbie and they could talk and talk. How did this five-year-old know the other was a fake Ken? She had been given one before. She knew immediately he would not be what she wanted.

All too often we meet the ‘fake’ men before meeting the real one. Many times they have all the cool accessories and look so much like the real deal that we plunge headfirst into love. Then we discover they do not fit our lives and goals and they do not seem to think we are the real deal for them. The relationship seems to go nowhere. We are puzzled by his seeming lack of affection and devotion. He is so close to what she wants that she has a hard time breaking away. What if nothing better is out there? What if he is as good as it gets? What would she change about him if she could change him? Something as simple as taking out the trash without her having to ask? Or him not drinking until unconsciousness every Saturday night? Besides she loves him, however unhappy she is with her choice.

It takes faith to see beyond right now. It takes faith to realize that he may be a ‘fake Ken’ and that with a little more shopping, making wiser choices, we can have what we want.

What if your ‘Ken’ is being prepared now? What if he won’t be available until June? Can you approach dating the same way you do shopping? With an attitude that if you do not find it at this store, you will at another. Or do you have the attitude of people doing last minute shopping on Christmas Eve, you will take anything just to have something to wrap in a pretty package?

Organize your needs into a small manageable list. Nothing too overwhelming. Take the list when you are shopping. If the list says "Must love children" and he does not like kids, he is not the right choice. If the list says "Must be drug free" and he tells you of his love for popping tranquilizers, he is not the right choice. Make the right decisions for yourself before you fall in love. Making the right choice in the beginning of a relationship saves a lot of time and heartache.

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