Rachael Ray. She’s my 10-year old’s cooking hero. She loves watching the cooking channel after school. This summer she has been watching even more cooking shows. And now she is wanting to cook more. A few weeks ago she brought my wife and I eggs at 6 in the morning. We are so not morning people, but I got up and ate them anyways.

With each meal she makes, she is becoming more and more emboldened and confident. Lately we have had to harness her enthusiasm some because she’s getting into stuff in the kitchen and using the stove, and we have been working with her in understanding our need to be present to provide her with appropriate supervision.

Yesterday she decided she wanted to make brownies. My wife was around but didn’t really feel like cooking. After some pleading my wife said she could make them, but she needed to follow the directions very carefully. When the brownies came out they had a strange look and consistency. They were dry and had a strange taste to them. Claudia insisted that she had followed the directions. My wife was not convinced, so she grabbed the box and began going through the instructions step by step asking Claudia if she had done each step accordingly.

When she got to butter, she asked Claudia if she had used butter. Yes, she replied. Did she use 2 cups? No. She couldn’t figure out how to get two cups out of the butter container, and besides, she couldn’t find the measuring cup. So she put in 5 teaspoons of butter. That explained the look.

Eggs? “Well,” Claudia said, “I decided to take one egg out. It seemed like too much.”

Cocoa? “I decided to add more because I thought it would taste better.”

My wife sat Claudia down and explained to her that this was why she needs mom’s assistance as she is learning to cook. She also talked about the importance of measuring and following directions. Claudia said that the cooks on TV don’t measure. My wife explained that they had lots of experience and expertise and she cannot copy their techniques.

Here’s the part that was most beautiful to me. I did not know that this had happened. I came home for lunch yesterday and found a note in the kitchen. I took a picture of it and it is below. My favorite part is the last part that says, “I would rather do it with my mom.” It just underscored the truth that parents have far and away the strongest influence in their kids’ lives. It also was a beautiful picture of the mentoring relationship that should exist between parents and children. It’s also a foundational aspect of youth ministry.

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