A Ruth’s Chris signature steak or a McDonald’s signature Happy Meal, and your preference would be?
What seems like ages ago, Friday afternoons had a routine. The routine became a tradition, a well-loved memory that is often spoken of and laughed over. Times have changed for sure and circumstances are more comfortable, but in those days something as simple as a McDonald’s burger was a treat, a reward.
This was the Friday routine. Mom had to work only a half day; by the time she arrived home, I would have finished cleaning the trailer…errrr, the mobile home. It was a single wide with one bathroom. The washing machine was in the bathroom; there was no clothes dryer. We hung laundry out on the line. I actually miss those bristly towels. There was no dishwasher. There was no air conditioning. Soon after lunch, we would go “to town”, 15 or so miles away. It was our only trip to town during a typical week.
One of the stops in our trip to town always had to be K-Mart. It was our store of preference because a) there wasn’t much else to choose from back in the day, b) K-Mart let us buy things on lay-away and c) we could browse forever in air conditioning on 90-degree summer days. That particular store is no longer in operation.
Another reason we drove all the way into town was to buy groceries. We chose our store of preference because a) there weren’t many competitors to choose from back in the day, b) the store had the best value for the money and c) the store offered S & H Green Stamps. That particular store is no longer in operation.
The most important reason, in my recollection of things, of why we drove all the way into town was to eat at McDonald’s. It was our restaurant of preference because a) we liked their burgers and fries, b) we could afford their prices, and c) we considered eating out at a fast food restaurant a personal reward and treat. That particular store is in fact still up and running but with a few updates through the years.
From those teenage years through my 20’s, I preferred a burger from McDonald’s over a burger cooked at home. As I got older my tastes changed and the craving for McDonald’s diminished. I suppose as I have grown older still, my tastes still continue to evolve. Now, I prefer a gorgeous, well-executed steak over a hamburger of any kind. I’m told Ruth’s Chris is the place to go for the best steak. I have never been there so I can’t comment on that. Perhaps one day, eh?
I once spoke to a youth group and used the word picture of progressing from preferring a happy meal to a home-cooked burger and then finally hungering for steak. I used the word picture to illustrate a spiritual truth. As we grow and mature, our tastes do change and we hunger for things of more substance than what we hungered for as a child. Oh by the way, I knew using a word picture involving food would hold their attention. Firstly, they were teens. Secondly, they were in the middle of a designated time of fasting from food.
But you know, the word picture of progressing from fast food imitations to a signature choice cut can be used in many analogies of life and not just food.
- our sense of fashion
- our choices for vehicles
- our needs in housing
- our preferences in entertainment
- our close friendships and significant relationships
- our obtaining self-esteem and sense of security
- our jobs and career goals
- our need for personal space and downtime
- our need for social engagement
- our attitude toward money
- our need for identification with certain logos
- our pursuit of immediate gratification/hiccupping happiness vs contentment and significance
You fill in the blanks.
As we grow into maturity, what satisfies us and what is rewarding changes.
Well, for some, eh?
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”