Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chocolate Conflict Resolution

If you're looking for something fun to read, Alexander McCall Smith is the perfect author to turn to.  I've devoured the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and the 44 Scotland Street series.  His books are sweet, you care about the characters, and there are satisfying story arcs. And there are gems of wisdom or fresh perspective liberally scattered about.  Below is one of the gems I ran across recently in The Importance of Being Seven, page 220.  For context, Bertie is a six year old boy with a controlling mother, to put it mildly.  Stuart is his dad, who is taking on his first fishing trip.  They are at a gas station, filling up with gas and provisions for the day.

'A good choice, Bertie,' said Stuart, as he came in to pay for the petrol. 'And how about some chocolate?'

Nobody had ever said that to Bertie before.  How about some chocolate? It was not a complex phrase, but its power, its sheer, overwhelming sense of gift and possibility filled Bertie with awe. Well might more of us say these words to others, and more frequently--how healing would that prove to be. 'Look, we've had our differences, but how about some chocolate?' Or: 'I'm so very sorry, how about some chocolate?' Or simply: 'Great to see you! How about some chocolate?'

 Now, I am a great lover of chocolate (65-70% cacao, with dried cherries or hazelnuts please), but I don't think that I truly realized its potential for greatness.  That chocolate carries with it a power, an "overwhelming sense of gift and possibility" that fills one with awe--beautiful! 

I say we start a movement.  Before the opening of the UN General Assembly, we place a chocolate bar at every seat.  We airlift chocolate to North Korea and Iran.  We urge Hershey's to make corporate donations of chocolate in equal proportions to Republicans and Democrats!  It's not just Charlie's rare golden ticket in the wrapping that fills us with a "sheer, overwhelming sense of gift and possibility"--it's the chocolate in every one!  I, for one, will be working on future conflict resolution with my new found tool, chocolate. 


  1. I sadly think this is terrible. What I understand, and love is that it was sweet to him, Bertie, who never heard anything like it before. Someone was offering a true treat. But for many it is not a true treat, but a luxury that we don't need, that we get enough of anyway. Sometimes it is a true treat, but not for solving world conflicts, or even minor disputes, and the more we use it the more meaningless it gets. Some of us just plain don't need chocolate. Chocolate is not the overwhelming sense of gift and possibility that is was for Bertie. I know you know the Christ, and the overwhelming gift and possibility that he is to us. He's the one who knows when offering Bertie chocolate is a truly precious gift, and when offering it to me is not. It is never the thing itself, the chocolate in this case, but always the blessing that it is, if it is truly a blessing, which comes out of the true Love from the Father, whether the giver knows it or not.

  2. Remind me to create some sort of conflict wtih you. It sounds so nice!

  3. First, I apologize for not reply more quickly! I'm setting up some notifications so that I can avoid this blogger's guffaw in the future.

    Second, to "Jessie live justly", I see your point. I am not proposing that chocolate is the cure all to the world's problems. I'm being more whimsical with this post than serious. These are my often theological ramblings, not always theological. :o) I love chocolate, and Bertie is one of my favorite Alexander McCall Smith characters, so it was a paragraph that stuck out.

    Third, Malgal, hahaha! I'm not a fan of conflict, so how about I just give you some chocolate? :o)