Why I Had to Eat Spam

I don’t eat ham. I don’t eat pork chops, bacon, or pig’s feet. And yet, last week, I ate Spam.

“How did I find myself in this compromising situation?” You may ask. Let’s just say it was all in the name of discipline.

So, the story goes, that the *one* required item for our Haitian Christmas Shoe Box was Spam. If each child receives a can of Spam, they truly will have a Christmas feast. So, in a shoe box with spangly bracelets, pink spiral notebooks, and stickers, sat a hefty can of Spam.

While we were purchasing the Spam, and I was trying to describe it to Vivienne, I decided to toss an extra can into our own cart so that Viv could experience the “Christmas Feast” of the little Haitian girl we had been praying and thinking about this month. From the moment the dense can hit the shopping cart, Viv was chomping at the bit to crack that metal pop-top.

“Please, please, please can I have some for my snack today?!!”she begged over and over again.

“No, let’s wait until Daddy gets home,” I’d answer, hoping that Ryan would at least know how to prepare the stuff.

She’d hold the can up to her cheek and whine like a puppy dog. “Please, please, pleeeeease?”

After her persistent pleading, I decided to lay down the law: “Vivienne, please don’t ask again or you will not be able to enjoy the Spam with us this evening.”

I thought for sure this would end the pestering. BUT IT DIDN’T. She asked again! (The universal moment when the parent says a silent, “Oh, fiddle-sticks!”) I was determined to follow through with the consequences. However,  I suddenly realized that in order to communicate “please heed my warning next time”, this can of Spam took on a whole new dimension: now it wasn’t just something for Vivienne to taste, it was something I had to eat… and enjoy.

Soon after, Ryan, Lia, and I dug into those thick salty slabs of meat (?) and prayed that God would forgive us.

We didn’t have to act like we were in Ham Heaven. We didn’t have to ooo and ahhh. We didn’t have to say a word. Vivienne got the point. You would have cried to see the look of desperation on her face as she looked at the empty spot on her plate, and the pink, ripply meat (?) on ours. I do think it was a tough lesson for Vivienne, and I can’t promise her that she’ll ever have the opportunity to try Spam again – at least not in this house. But I think it was a tougher lesson for me, as I added to my mental “How To” Parenting Notebook: “Don’t ever create consequences that will involve eating pig!!”

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