During the school year, our mornings are driven by routine, with the goal of getting the children fed and to school on time. It is our belief that full stomachs are a prerequisite for learning, so we take breakfast seriously around our home.
They're mostly hot breakfasts, with an occasional cereal thrown in. Eggs and grits are the predominant meal (we are true Southerners); pancakes follow at a distant second.
My husband Jimmy and I both cook breakfast. Who cooks depends on the morning and our plans for the day.
One morning, a few years ago, we got into a discussion about who cooks the best eggs. As memory serves, I was cooking breakfast that day, and Jimmy offered some friendly advice: "You've got to love the eggs."
As normal, I was multitasking -- cooking eggs, grits, unloading the dishwasher and setting the table. Now, I'd like to say that I took Jimmy's advice right out of the gate and went on to make perfect scrambled eggs, but I'm sure you know better.
Egg advice. Who really wants advice on how to cook eggs, especially when it's offered early in the morning? A bit frustrated, I asked the children who cooks better eggs. As children tend to do, they spoke the truth: "Daddy" was their answer.
Well, spatula tucked figuratively between my legs, I circled back to Jimmy to listen this time to his egg advice. But no, I still was not happy.
"You've got to love the eggs," was his advice. In fact, if memory serves, I brushed off his advice and went on my way that day. But after reflecting, I realized later that my husband was exactly right.
No matter what you do, you have to love the eggs. Loving the eggs involves preparation, focus and understanding the bigger picture.
There is a bit of preparation involved in wonderfully scrambled eggs. Eggs are cracked into a bowl first, and then beaten together. Once beaten, the eggs are ready to be poured into a hot skillet where a thin layer of melted butter is waiting to envelop them.
Loving the eggs means focusing on them for every second that they are cooking. It doesn't take long to cook eggs, and if you move your attention somewhere else, it's quite likely that they will get overdone. Yes, the eggs I cooked that morning while unloading the dishwasher, setting the table and pouring the milk were terribly overdone.
Understand the bigger picture
Loving the eggs involves understanding that there is more at hand than meets the eye. Cooking eggs is not about eggs, it's about showing the ones you are cooking for that they are loved and valued and that you understand that they need nourishment. Or, applied to another household chore, it's not just about doing laundry; it's about caring that your children/spouse/loved ones wear clean clothes.
So many of our daily activities have a much larger impact than we might imagine or understand at first. Stopping and listening to a client requires more than just listening to her particular problem at a given moment, but is about valuing and appreciating and wanting to listen to her.
Since that time, I have taken my husband's wisdom and this approach into other areas of my life. Am I giving my all during speeches? While I write? Even when I talk to others? Am I preparing, focusing and understanding the bigger picture?
I wish that I could say that I always love the eggs. But I can't.
It's at those moments of failure that I step back, prepare, pay attention, focus on the bigger picture and try again.
In our home, loving the eggs has become a phrase that reminds us that, whatever we do, we should do our best to prepare, to focus and to understand the bigger picture. This allows us to transfer the love we have into the process and thereby affect the end result.
Today, think about loving your eggs.