The Fudgesicle Incident

Over the weekend we had a “little incident”. Oh, it wasn’t anything off the wall but what transpired brought me face to face with my short falls as a parent and especially as a father.

My wife, who continually gives of herself, was babysitting two of our 7 grandchildren while their parents are off on a short well earned vacation. One of our other grandchildren was having a “sleepover” with the two grandchildren my wife is helping with, at their home. When I’m not working I spend time with my wife where she is babysitting to help her with meals and cleanup etc. But my wife is 73 years old now and has a sore hip that causes her considerable discomfort in climbing stairs and doing a lot of walking. We were all on the 2nd floor of their home and one of my grandsons (no names mentioned to protect the innocent) asked my wife to go downstairs to get him a glass of water. I took the liberty of reminding him that he was a lot younger than his grandmother and totally capable of getting his own drink. The grandson who I addressed wasn’t impressed. I see a lot of that today, where some young people seem to think that the sole reason that mothers and grandmothers are around is to cater to their needs, especially when they are doing something much more important, like playing a video game. And I understand that most times these “needs” are catered to, but when we’re talking about where a flight of difficult stairs is involved, and my wife, I have a tendency to draw the line. Not a biggie, I’ll admit, but I’m not finished, there’s more.

I had bought a box of “fudgesicles”  that my wife likes as a treat for her while she baby sits our two grandsons. And of course, Nanny shares. But Nanny wasn’t there, just Papa, and one of our grandsons just went into the fridge and took one. I mentioned that they were “Nanny’s, he said “sorry”, took one and walked away with it. Apparently there was a breakdown in communication, but Papa said nothing.

A few minutes later the same grandson came back and took two more. This would be the same grandson that previously had barely touched the breakfast that had been made for him, because he wasn’t hungry. Papa objected. Grandson replied that Granny shared and didn’t mind. Papa replied that just because someone is willing to share does not infer that you can take them all and just out of curiosity, how was it that he wasn’t hungry before at breakfast but had suddenly found his appetite when fudgesicles were involved. Grandson wasn’t impressed but did walk away WITHOUT the two fudgesicles.

Four or five minutes goes by and another different unnamed grandson comes down from upstairs and sticks the phone in front of my face telling me that Nanny wants to speak with me. Obviously the grandson who had left without the two fudgesicles wanted to nip this opposition in the bud, so to speak. Papa wasn’t impressed. Short story – Nanny says they get to eat what they want. Case closed. Fortunately Nanny is not mad at Papa. God is good.

I think this falls under the “pick your battles” category and Papa obviously still has a problem with picking too many battles. I tried doing a follow-up with the two grandsons involved explaining why what had transpired bothered me but that didn’t seem to go all that well either. Neither of the grandsons seemed to be very receptive to my reasoning.

My wife and I raised five children. To say that we were ill equipped is an understatement. You have to remember that this was almost fifty years ago when Dr. James Dobson’s book “Dare to Discipline”, first edition, was in vogue. And I had been raised in a home and school system that employed “corporal punishment” when needed, no questions asked. Times change and what was the “norm” isn’t acceptable anymore. I understand, I don’t always agree with it, but I do understand. Our first daughter hardly ever needed a swat, maybe twice in her whole childhood. Sons two and three were present right at the peak of “Dare to Discipline”, which was unfortunate for both them and us. But we did learn some important principles like NEVER discipline when you are angry and learn to differentiate between an innocent mistake and deliberate intention, not to mention that their age has to be taken into account and their dignity respected, even if they are not respecting yours. In hindsight, I definitely could have used less corporal punishment on my two eldest boys and I have serious regrets about that to this day. By the time the last two (twins) arrived, we had decided to not use corporal punishment so those two lucked in, so to speak.

Providing discipline, as a father, is not easy. And working in a military environment has it’s down sides. Couple that with trying to learn to walk with God plus a host of other real life experiences like adapting to a performance oriented work environment, balancing financial requirements and meeting the emotional needs of your spouse and children, it can easily go sideways, far too easily. This is one place where “dying to self” takes on a whole new meaning and if I would have been graded, my report card wouldn’t have really been all that great. I’m pretty sure there would have been some “D’s” and “F’s” in there.

My wife and I both agree that if we had it to do over again, there would be a lot of things that we would do differently. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but unfortunately most of us don’t have that option available when starting out. Fathers have a tendency to look at the long term view, preparing the child to deal fairly with others, work ethic, determination and willingness to work for what you want, honoring your word and respecting others, to name but a few character traits that need to be developed. These are all qualities that are necessary to be successful in the world that we live in.

As I look back at my walk with God, I am amazed at His patience with me. His faithfulness, grace, love and mercy are qualities that He has demonstrated to me many many times, even to this very day. Raising children is not an easy task and no one knows that better than God. In short, the way He responds to us is the way in which He asks us to respond to others, even our own children, as disobedient and unloving as they sometimes may be.

Are there times when God has swatted my rear in the past? I can tell you truthfully, oh yes there are. Times (notice the plural) when He allowed me to experience first hand, what I had been doing to others. The hurt and pain I felt will never be forgotten. And candidly, I needed to experience that because what you do to others is never fully realized until you really experience it yourself. They are hard but necessary lessons.

All of our children say they love us and I believe them. And it goes without saying that we love all of our children. Love covers a multitude of sins. I don’t think I’d get very high marks as a father. There’s an old saying that says “at the time, you did the best that you could with what you knew and understood”. Problem being, it’s only as you get much older that you begin to realize how little you truly knew and understood. I don’t know about you but for me, it kind of puts “forgiveness” into a whole new perspective. I kind of wish I had focused a bit more on that before the fudgesicle incident went down.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!


  1. This girl would give you great marks as a Father. It is always meaningful to those involved when you share what you might have done differently if given the chance. Nannys and papas aren’t perfect and grand kids are forgiving. xo


    • Thanks Tracey. This was a hard one because of the love I have for your Mom, yet it shows me that the imperfections and selfish attitudes of our grandchildren, that can pop up at times, must also be included in that love, especially when it comes to forgiveness, even when they are not asking for it. What remains now to be done is for me to apologize to both of them for the displeasure I demonstrated and ask for their forgiveness. Love always, Dad


  2. Great illustration Bruce. I totally get your perspective on this. I grew up pretty tough and learned quick that life is just rough sometimes. Consequently I have often lacked patience with people. My military service did nothing to enhance it. It has presented trouble for me dealing with the current generation. Now, God has placed me in place where I have learned much about a softer approach. He’s good that way. A good Father knows how to make His point clear. It only took me 56 years to get it.


    • Thanks Wally, I guess I’m still working on it. I think my lesson was that the love I have for my wife doesn’t justify me not showing love for my grandsons. This was a hard one. Blessings

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 🙂 Totally get this! All of it! Wouldn’t it be nice to do this in backwards order….knowing what you know as a grandparent when you are a new parent. Maybe that’s why it’s so important to have grandparents in the lives of children, to provide some balance, and sometimes to say no on fudgesicles!!


  4. The nice thing about learned behaviour, it can be unlearned. We as followers of Christ call it repentance.
    It’s to bad guru Dobson never figured out that Jesus didn’t suffer at the hands of His Father, but suffered at the hands at those He came to serve. Even Pontius Pilate recognized this Truth as he washed his hands of this great injustice.
    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is diametrically opposed to most of what is written in the old testament.
    We make a grave mistake (pun intended) when we believe what is written in the law is what God wanted. The Truth is, it’s what man wanted and God allowed it. The only law that God wanted was the 10 commandments written by His finger which Moses broke as soon as he got down from the mountain.
    I encourage you Bruce to continually guide your children into truth and righteousness while always remembering The Grace and Patience which comes by way of Jesus Christ through His heavenly Father.
    PS. Kids are resilient, don’t be surprised if they weren’t as effected as you were with this situation. Keep it real Bruce


    • Well, all things considered, it was a good lesson for me and I’ve already apologized and hugged each of the two grandsons, which is what I feel God wanted me to do. Short story is I love them and that needs to be the reality that is to be reinforced above all else. Thanks for you thoughts and advice. Blessings!


  5. Reblogged this on Truth in Palmyra and commented:
    Great illustration Bruce. I totally get your perspective on this. I grew up pretty tough and learned quick that life is just rough sometimes. Consequently I have often lacked patience with people. My military service did nothing to enhance it. It has presented trouble for me dealing with the current generation. Now, God has placed me in place where I have learned much about a softer approach. He’s good that way. A good Father knows how to make His point clear. It only took me 56 years to get it. Great wisdom here.


  6. Well, I always appreciate and admire your honesty and humility, Bruce. But… I’m not so sure you were in the “wrong.” It does sound as though there did need to be some consideration for selfless “Nanny.” I’m glad you pointed that out regardless. And it was nice that she shared the fudgesicles… ☺️ You’re obviously a great dad and Papa…and your beautiful wife is a gem! Great post as always, Bruce!! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If I was there to see that happen… “The Fudgesicle Incident” I would be just as angry if not more. I really don’t think you were in the wrong though… You are always teaching us Dad and I appreciate it more than you know!

    Liked by 1 person

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