the story of the gingerbread house

I got a phone call from my son, the other day and four year old Wyatt jumped in on the line, intent on telling me something.
“Lissy, there is a special store near me, and if you leave your home RIGHT NOW, you can get here in time to come to that special store and get me that GINGERBREAD HOUSE I saw there. Then you can bring it over and we can put it together. Do you think you can leave right now and come over here Lissy?”
“The “Special “ store is Randalls”, said my son wryly. We both laughed and I told Wyatt I would do the best I could. Right now he looks forward to doing things with me, so I am going to take advantage of these moments, as they are great teaching moments, and bonding moments.

To me, the story of the gingerbread house is a great story to help kids be aware of the appeal of something that is not really all that it appears. Making a gingerbread house can be a fun shared experience and it can teach at the same time. Parents use nursery rhymes and stories like the one of the gingerbread house, to give kids information that match their level of understanding, and will stick.

Handmade Storyteller dolls are one way parents of the past, depicted the importance of mom’s passing down stories to their children. These clay dolls, can have just one child or can have many children. I have been given several storyteller dolls, by different artists, as gifts from my husband, when he finds one that has five children, to match the five children I have. I love the significance of storytelling as embodied by these dolls.

If these storyteller dolls could speak, what story would they tell?
Children and their innocence, have been protected by parents telling stories, over the ages, as represented by storyteller dolls, and families form a strong barrier for children from the outside world, until they are old enough and knowledgeable enough to navigate it.
But what happens when parents and their sage words of wisdom, through storyteller dolls or through nursery rhymes, are replaced by something more bright and shiny or appealing, like a gingerbread house? How are we as a society, to keep our children from exploring “the gingerbread house” in the woods, which we as adults know, is really a trap set by a wicked witch.
Children told the story of Hansel and Gretel, know that a house full of cherries, and icing and candy is not really good for them, so the story is an obvious parody, and they can see what happens when the children go inside the house, against their better judgement. The gingerbread house, we can explain, is a thief. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Tik Tok, is a gingerbread house that is deceptively hiding underneath the facade of sweetness and pleasure, but is in fact the thief.
“Tik Tok the game is unlocked, as parents begin to play, and when they do, they’ll take their shoe and beat you till your black and blue. “
This is my revised version of the nursery rhyme kids used to say on the playground standing in a circle with hands clasped, to keep others out of a game. Tik Tok, is trying to keep parents out, because parents can see the bigger picture and are not manipulating their own children.

If Tik Tok is “the gingerbread house” then it seems it is announcing that it is going after young ones, and it is also going to beat everything till all that's left is black and blue. What do they hope to accomplish by only leaving one race, and one political party? HMMMM? Is tik tok the new shiny thing put out to lure young innocent ones into its “gingerbread house”. Does it represent freedom and a happy life?

Tik Tok, is chinese, and in China, the people themselves are censored from looking at it. The country is communist and there is no free market economy. There are forced labor camps and forced abortions, (breaking the ten commandments). I cannot even imagine living or being happy in a place like China, and, by the way, look at Hong Kong. The chinese communist government does not honor their promises even to their own people much less, other governments. Everything they do is in THEIR OWN best interests, not ours or our children.

As evidence of this, the chinese lady who runs the dry-cleaning service we use, has a big sign to END THE CCP. Because of having lived in China, she knows the evils of the chinese communist party and is not deceived by the allure of Tik Tok. She cannot believe how ignorant people here are to listen to anything hosted by and coming from, a dictator country.

But she will be grateful to know that that people here are realizing that colleges, and social media, and everything electronic, are all the new “gingerbread houses” trying to lure children and young adults away from their parents, through biased and misleading “information”.

When this “gingerbread house” was new on the scene, many parents allowed their children access, as a reward, hoping the children would thrive. But what parents are now seeing is that children thrive when they are given access to family members and other well grounded children, to play with outdoors. They thrive with activities that give them skills and confidence, and they thrive when close to church and an improved relationship with God.

That is the truth, and the false promise of better jobs, and more equality and easy money promised by social media or government give-a ways, are quickly seen to be empty and shallow and fake.
It would seem that tik tok is trying to become the newest “parent” on the block but real parents are recognizing “the gingerbread house” and are taking action.
When I was visiting my son in Tennessee, I had a nice conversation with their nanny, who was expecting her first baby. She said that when she was in college, she felt like she was a liberal. She said that she, and most of her friends, all now look at tik tok for ideas on how to view the world. (She can do that because right now in this country, people are free to look at whatever they want to look at, even if it is to their detriment).

But she said that recently she saw where people in the LGBTQ community are pushing to legitimize calling pedophiles “minor attracted persons”. This attempt to take something evil and try to make it sound more acceptable, is what made her personally aware of how tik tok is “the gingerbread house”.
She said that she does not want her child victimized. She is becoming conservative. Tik Tok, once viewed as good is now seen as not so good. This is called a paradigm shift. I think that when a person has children, the parenting instinct propels them into experiencing this shift.

As parents, we hope to help our children understand our paradigm, BEFORE they have their own children, so they do not have to reinvent the wheel so to speak, but it takes lots of conversations with our children to accomplish that. A person who IS a child will not usually have the same perspective as a person who HAS a child.

The nursery rhymes and storyteller dolls and family history, and all things that we viewed through the lens of children wanting to be ‘independent” of our parents, can now be viewed through the lens of compassion for our parents, who sincerely wanted what is best for us. The efforts by parents doing the best they can to keep their children safe from the lures of “the gingerbread house, we realize, are things to be grateful for.

There are people who want to fight a war in Ukraine against Russia, but the threat to the people here in this country is a much more subtle war for the minds and hearts of our children, being carried out, on Tik Tok. But because of people like this nanny, I believe that parents here are winning.

Parents are figuring out that it does not make sense to try to impart skills and core values to children, and then turn their children over to a device that works AGAINST good parental direction. Parents generally have their children's best interests at heart, and Tik Tok has China’s best interests at heart.
It is useful to remember and utilize the STORY of the gingerbread house, when spending time with children and building the candy covered structure. This holiday season, I think it would be really good to talk to children about the story of Hansel and Gretel and explain to them what things today can qualify as “candy” that is a bait, or fake allure.

By telling the story and asking questions, you can help teach them how to recognize “gingerbread houses” and recognize that even though something seems shiny and fun, if it is going contrary to their parents, it my not bring ultimate happiness. Did the parents of Hansel and Gretel really not want the children? Was their home actually a safe place? Were the children valued by each other? Are there things right now that are appealing to you that might get you into trouble?

What else could the children have done when they felt lost? (prayed) Who are some people we know in real life who maybe seem to be going after “the gingerbread house” and not listening to parents? If they seemed happy at first, did they stay happy?

If children are confused by parents directives, they can go to the bible, and see if these directives match or support the ten commandments or if they dilute them. It might even be useful to build a manger scene beside the gingerbread house to show how, what is good and pure, is not deceptive, fake and evil.

The manger might not seem as appealing, but it is real and honest and loving. And that baby, when born, honored his parents and cherished his home. Did the people in the village of Bethlehem shut out the baby Jesus? Were they more concerned about keeping shelter for the animals than for taking care of other human beings? How does that fit in with abortion today? Were the people who prayed, and trusted in God, the ones who recognized the worth of the baby Jesus, when so many wanted to kill him.

It may not seem intuitive that something as seemingly harmless as tik tok can separate families. And as someone who, in the past, has occasionally listened to the advice of strangers over that of my parents, to my own detriment, I have come full circle to rely on my parents and honor them, and give them the platform. It is a tough place to be, to realize that those independent choices we made, that went against our parents, did not benefit us at all in the long run.

If we had just listened to our parents…. When the chips are down, those “friends” and strangers, including government rulers, agreeing with our bad decisions, will be nowhere to be found, but our parents will still be there loving us and forgiving us.

It is a difficult role as a parent to teach a child to refuse unlimited goodies, when no one is watching, and it takes concerted effort and diligence. My parents taught me to learn self denial during Lent and advent.

Each of us, me and my four sisters, gave up something that we really liked for that period of time, and we got no reward for doing so other than we knew it was teaching us self discipline. No one knew if we cheated, but I know I never did, and I imagine my sisters never did either.

It is easy to be distracted and worried over world events, but they actually mirror the state of affairs in our own homes. We can do more for the world by paying attention to our own children, than by sending money and weapons to some distant land.

Families is where the conversations need to be happening, not in the political arena, and not from other adults who do not necessarily have our children's best interests at heart. I personally try to get the cousins in our family together, so they know their family well enough to call on them in times of need. I try to talk about memorable people in our family like Big man, my dad, and Cleta his wife, and learn from their good choices.

When I see the little ones who want candy and sugar, and I know their parents are trying to limit intake, I support what the parents are doing because I know it is in the kids best interests. (I love you, but you cannot get my support for making bad choices.) So when the kids are with me, I encourage them to use self discipline as though their parents were there and I do not try to sabotage the parents.

This is the foundation for learning and discriminating between right and wrong. But so much of social media is trying to blur the lines between right and wrong. (IE. Fifty shades of grey). But I am the opposite of tik tok, which divides families, instead of supporting them, and my parents gave me clear rules of right and wrong so there was no confusion on my part. AND my parents did not give people access to us, if they were not family members…we never spent the night away from home, we were not allowed to watch TV and we learned to play tennis, paint pictures, jump rope, play chess, cook meals, clean house and sew instead.

It is right to love our neighbors, but it is not right to support our neighbors wrong behaviors. Jesus did not support evil, and neither should we. It is ok to say no to behavior that goes against the ten commandments, while still trying to love and guide people who are making bad decisions.

Alcoholism, for example, is something that often ends up causing a wasted life, and it is important to see it for the evil it is. But we can still love the person who is making bad choices and try to help them stop the addiction. People get confused to believe that being kind, means tolerating evil behavior. Jesus never did that. And by the way, people with addictions turn over control of their children, to those addictions.

Things that try to minimize parents, or their influence on their own children, and cause children to question their loyalties, are not good. Tik Tok has become an easy gingerbread house to identify as are most social media and electronics. I am grateful that for me and for many others, the gingerbread houses are fun for a short period and then are thrown away, at the end of the day because we all know that they are for show, and do not really satisfy.

And Hansel and Gretel found their way back home, in spite of all the traps put in their path.

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Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.