The Case of the Missing Chicken


I believe that it is no coincidence that most parents begin to go gray at the very time their children become teenagers.

Teens have the reputation for being a challenging bunch, and no doubt, they can be at times. I’ll admit that my children can vouch for the fact that they have audibly heard me reminding myself, “Children are a gift from the Lord. Children are a gift from the Lord.” Raising teens, especially in today’s culture, is tough. They are bombarded with so much more than we ever were at the same age. I believe that it is important to remember that parenting is a privilege, not a chore. You’ve been hand selected to walk through life with your children. That journey will involve laughter and tears, triumphs and defeats, and, yes, some gray hair.  I am so thankful for my three boys, two of whom are teens.  Frankly, I love being their mom.

This past year has seen me make some startling discoveries about teens:  teenagers do indeed have bottomless pits, their hunger is never satisfied or quenched, and as soon as one meal is finished, they are ready for the next.   When my children were younger, I can remember overhearing other parents lamenting over the fact that their teens were eating them out of house and home.  Naively, I thought that that must be a gross exaggeration, hyperbole, a stretching of the truth.  Nope.  It’s spot on.  I’ve concluded that teens will in fact make you broke…if you allow it!

Case in point.  Chicken was on sale a few weeks ago.  I purchased three packages, for a total of twelve chicken breasts.  While making dinner one evening I decided that I would cook up all, I repeat, all of the chicken.  My plan was to make enough for dinner that evening with plenty to spare for lunches for the entire week.

You can see where this is going.

After making up everyone’s plates for dinner that evening, we ventured into the dining room to eat. Dinnertime is one of our favorite family times. We all take turns sharing the tidbits of our day. Laughter is a guarantee at dinner…and I like it that way! Well, on this evening, my husband and I remained at the table a bit longer than usual. The boys began to clear the table while we chatted. We were there for a good 20 minutes or so. When I finally made my way into the kitchen, I stopped dead in my tracks in front of the baking sheet. There sat one lone chicken breast. One. You’ll remember that I began the evening with twelve pieces of chicken. I served six pieces at dinner. I looked at my two teens and asked them what had happened to the chicken. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt here; take the innocent until proven guilty approach.  Maybe the chicken fell?  Without skipping a beat one replied, “We ate them. We were hungry.”

Hungry? We just finished dinner.  How is that humanly possible?  My guys are fit and active; I know they need fuel, but five extra chicken breasts…in addition to what they ate at dinner?  I began to laugh; then I paused.  Suddenly, this was not funny anymore; it was gluttony…not to mention a supreme waste of money.  I lovingly sat them down to talk with them.  I wasn’t angry, but I did want to make it clear that we are living on a budget, and that obliterating the contents of the cupboard and refrigerator is just not an option.

The next morning, a plan came to mind.

Next up:  The Plan

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