Sunday, January 4, 2009

Wax Strong

Colonial woman dipping candles.

Into the hot wax; out of the hot wax. Into the hot wax; out of the hot wax. I watched as the woman dipped her candles. She held a dowel with ten pieces of string looped over it, and repeatedly lowered it into a vat of melted wax.


The first time it looked like nothing stuck to the strings at all. Another dip, and they still looked clean. Patiently, the woman dunked them again, and again, and eventually I could see a film of wax building. Time after time the thin layers adhered to each other, and slowly the strings began to look like candles.

After countless dips.

I've watched other women engaged in an old-fashioned art that also involves patience and repetition. It is mothering. Time after time they dip their kids in character building experiences---say "Please," "Thank you," "I'm sorry;" share your toys; pick up your coat; mind your dad; love your brother; don't whine; feed the dog; say your prayers---over and over again the same admonitions. At first it seems nothing is sticking. The kids are still the same. But eventually they begin to wax strong.

A work of art!

Each experience a child has in character building is like one more dip of the candle.
It is repetitious, it can become wearisome.
But it's worth it.

Art by William Adolphe Bouguereau

"Be not weary in well doing,
for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.
For out of small things proceedeth that which is great."
---D&C 64:33


Annie said...

Amen! Thanks for this...sometimes the effect of what we're doing is imperceptible on a daily basis (sometimes it feels like I'm going backwards!). This is a great reminder that it really *does* have lasting impact. Happy New Year!

gab said...

Just keep all that hard work away from the flame, huh?

Great analogy!!!

Kay Dennison said...

What a wonderful analogy!!!! And the photos are awesome!!!!!!

Polly said...

I love it!

Beck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beck said...

Thank you for this post! I really needed to hear this today. Sometimes teaching a two-year-old simply feels like I am repeatedly bashing my head against a wall. I appreciate the perspective.

Christie said...

I love your analogies. We need to get them all put in one place - like a book!

Miranda said...


Misty said...

I love this! Thank you!