Some of you may be too kind to say it. But I can tell you’re thinking, “I don’t know what you know about life, but I think you’ve learned a bit too much about Betty Crocker.”

Yes, I’ve learned a great deal about Betty Crocker over the past years. I’ve sat at her table many times. But as much as I’ve learned ABOUT her, I’ve learned more FROM her!

You’re probably thinking, “Yup, I knew it, you’ve finally gone off your rocker. Jean’s been creative one too many times! All she’s learned from Betty Crocker is how to make a great plate that makes me gain weight!”

Well, you’re wrong. And I’ll tell you why.

Consider the simple box of Betty Crocker cake mix.

You may think it’s only a cake mix with the instructions for baking a cake on the back. But when I pick up this box and read the back, I see instructions for living a successful life!

First off at the top, before the four steps to making a cake, Betty Crocker tells me what ingredients I will need. This tells me in order to succeed in baking a cake, and in life, I need to be organized. She’s telling me that in order to be successful in life, I need to know where I want to go. Then I need to think ahead and plan what it takes to get there. I need to assess whether I have what it takes – and if not, how I can get the skills I need for the job I want to do.

Yes, all I needed to learn in life about thinking ahead, I learned from Betty Crocker.

Step #1 says to heat your oven – and grease and flour your pan. From this, I learn that it doesn’t take just planning, it takes action, to make something work. All the planning in the world isn’t going to make me lose weight if I don’t diet or exercise. You’ve got to do, as well as think!

Yes, all I needed to learn in life about taking action, I learned from Betty Crocker.

Step #2 tells me to beat together the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in a large bowl on LOW speed for 2 MINUTES.

By this Betty Crocker teaches me that you need more than just one ingredient to make things interesting. You need diversity. You can’t make a cake by mixing water with water – it ain’t gonna work!

In the same way, if I try to make people over so that they are more like me, it ain’t gonna work. Just as you need oil and water and eggs and cake mix to make a tasty cake, you need people with different opinions, backgrounds, values, and thinking styles to make life interesting. Differences need to be valued. Because without them, life is bland. It will taste like a cake made only out of water!

But Betty Crocker also says to mix on LOW speed. This tells me that people need time to work together, to make a team. It takes time to get from forming to performing.

Yes, all I needed to learn in life about getting along with people, I learned from Betty Crocker.

Next, Betty Crocker tells me that I need to bake the cake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Now, you might be thinking – now Jean’s talking. She’s telling me that I need a vacation in Cuba.

No such luck! Think of heat as trials and tribulations. I’m telling you that in order to succeed in life, you need to have some difficulties.

A cake placed into a cold oven isn’t going to rise, to become tender. The baking powder needs heat to work. In the same way, without trials and tribulations in our life, we aren’t tender of heart, compassionate. How many of us before facing the heat of unemployment, think about the poor? If we do, it’s generally either to think ourselves better than them. Or to give them a fleeting thought as we give money to our favourite charity. But after time without a job, we gain compassion and tenderness towards the needs of the poor, we understand their concerns. Yes, trials and tribulations tenderize our hearts.

But we can’t be left too long in the oven of tribulation otherwise we become dried out, hard, bitter in the same way a cake left too long in the oven turns into a hard, dry mass.

Yes, everything I needed to know in life about compassion, I learned from Betty Crocker.

The final thing Betty Crocker teaches me about life is that you’ve got to frost the cake. You’ve got to add something sinfully delicious to an already tasty cake. Betty tells me that to change my life from satisfactory to sensational, I need to do something for myself, take time for myself, find out what completes my soul.

Yes, everything I needed to know in life about living life to the fullest, I learned from Betty Crocker.

So the next time you are at the supermarket, pick up Betty Crocker and place her in your cart. Because all you need to learn in life, you can learn from Betty Crocker!

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