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Gram's Cinnamon Rolls

By the time my oldest son, Remington, was in fourth grade he was known for his delicious cinnamon rolls. Well, not really his cinnamon rolls, the recipe came from "Grams" Anita, his grandmother on his dad’s side. Well, it’s not really Gram’s recipe either. The original roll recipe belongs to Anne Judd, a friend of Anita’s from before my husband was born. Anyway - if there was a class party or school event Remy was asked to bring in a batch of cinnamon rolls. We lived in New York City and homemade cinnamon rolls were a bit of a novelty. The fluffy, frosted confections were famous at his upper West side private school in New York City. Remington had learned to make the cinnamon rolls from his dad (my husband Shannon) when he was only seven years old. They had worked together and perfected the recipe over many batches.

Shannon learned the art of baking in his mother's kitchen in Utah. On their small farm Anita taught her kids to plant a garden, can and pickle vegetables, milk cows, even how to churn butter and make cheese. Every Saturday they made 14 loaves of bread, enough to last the whole week. And on special occasions they would make a pie, a cake, or a batch of Shannon’s favorite: cinnamon rolls. Anita had adapted her friend Anne’s dinner roll recipe to create large, luscious, gooey rewards for her kids. I doubt that between gathering eggs and pulling weeds it ever crossed Anita's mind that 25 years later, jet-set kids in Manhattan would be standing in line waiting to eat one of her delectable treats.

That's how it is with moms. We are doing what we can to teach our kids values we think are important; to help them learn how to take care of themselves and do their chores. Rarely in the midst of instructing them do we stop to think where this training will end up. Like Anita we are just teaching the lessons we need to teach in the moment without much time to think of the ripple that can happen. It's hard to imagine how the lesson you are teaching your child today can impact them and their children and their children's children- and on- for generations into the future.

Remington is 25 years old now. A couple of weeks ago one of his friends from elementary school, now a lawyer in Charleston, called and asked for the cinnamon roll recipe. She is supposed to take treats to her sons preschool graduation. Remington's grandma's recipe will be delighting a new generation of kiddos. Without knowing it, Anita has spread happiness and smiles over thousands of miles and hundreds of lives. There is no way for us to see where and how far the lessons that we teach our kids will ripple through their lives and the lives of other people they come in contact with. But just remember the influence you have reaches past the moment you are living right now. You never know who will end up eating the cinnamon rolls of kindness, hard work, patience, and love you teach your children today.

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