It’s a great illustration, really. It came from a little out-of-print booklet called “Your Reactions Are Showing.” Basically, it goes like this: You don’t really know what’s in the tea bag until you put it in hot water. The hot water doesn’t “make” tea; it simply draws the flavor out of the tea in the tea bag. We’re the same way. Our circumstances don’t “make us” angry, mean, or depressed. The hot water, our environment, simply draws out what was already inside of us. And as I mentioned to Lyn in a previous post, I was going to see if I could use the illustration as an object lessonÂ with my kids.
Today was a perfect opportunity, with friends coming to visit for the day. So I got the tea kettle going and poured a cup of hot water. I have actually talked about the properties of tea before with the children, but I’ve never used it as an analogy.
They’re still too much of concrete thinkers to make the connection. I knew Bethel wouldn’t get it, but I thought David might. I ended up simply telling him, “Nobody can make you be mean. You always choose your reaction.” Maybe he’ll remember the illustration later.