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Mom and her teen-age daughter were grocery shopping together, preparing for the family dinner on Friday night. The family always enjoyed fresh fruits, so before paying out at the cash register, they stopped in the fruit and vegetable section of the store.

Mom picked thru several possible candidates of cantaloupes, squeezing, eyeballing and then finally picking each one up to give it her final test – smelling. Her daughter stood by watching this whole ritual with her usual impatient rolling of the eyes and sighing. But Mom finally found ‘the one,’ the one which met all her criteria, and turned to place it in her basket. At that point, she met the eyes of her young daughter and spotted the unmistakable “Mom, why all this fuss over a stupid cantaloupe?” look in her eyes.

Swallowing her own annoyance, Mom proceeded to patiently teach her young teenager that all the rigamarole she had gone through allowed her to find a cantaloupe that was truly cantaloupey – unblemished, perfectly ripe, and tasty. As she talked, she suddenly recognized this could be a fun opportunity to teach the girl how to evaluate boys and find the ones who would be good dating material, as dating often leads to marriage material later. How to identify and find promising ‘young cantaloupes.’

This is what Mom taught while holding two totally different-looking cantaloupes in her hands:

Dating – the time for searching through the bin and recognizing a truly ripe cantaloupe. Rejecting the ones that you can readily identify as still-green candidates. And also the ones who have a blemish that will soon ruin the taste. Actually, a lot like the process of finding a possible future life partner.

Life partner possibles – the cantaloupes that hold a lot of promising evidence of being what a mature cantaloupe should be when it is cut and eaten. A young man on his way to becoming a mature, loving and responsible adult.

Promising evidence – A cantaloupe with a good scent and no visible blemishes. A young man who is respectful and exhibits honesty, kindness, and patience. And most importantly is a true follower of God.

Blemishes – An easily spotted bruising on the surface of the fruit. “If I buy an obviously blemished one, it will likely have a mushy texture when it’s cut open, and a bad taste when we try to eat it. And I’ll have just spent my money for nothing and disappointed myself. I would have to just throw it away, so it’s not worth the risk.” Same disappointing issues can occur with a mate.

The daughter probably acted bored with this lecture – but still, she heard it and probably absorbed much of it. Hopefully, applying it as she dated in the coming years until her probable marriage.

This was a smart and caring mom, who took advantage of a moment to teach a valuable lesson that would influence her girl’s dating decisions and her entire future.



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