The Principle of the Pantry

Posted April 30, 2020

I remember as a kid that great little closet in our kitchen. One of my childhood heroes could be found there… Cap’n Crunch! I was the earlier riser in my family, still am to this day. Up around 5:00am no alarm clock, just ready to go. I’ve always loved the mornings, its quiet, no one else around, for a few short hours I’d have the world to myself. When you’re nine that’s big deal.

I had my routine, wake up, morning cartoons and bowl of the blessed Captain’s wonderful goodness. Preferably with crunch berries. I’d head for the kitchen and that lovely closet that held the treasure I was after. There on the shelf waiting for me wide eyed, full salute and excited smile was the captain. Expecting me to come and take from his bright yellow box of corn flour, sodium citrate and artificial flavor. It was worth the wait.

The captain seldom let me down. Except for that one fateful morning. Someone obviously lost their mind. Because when I opened the door and looked on the shelf he was gone. No captain, no crunch berries, no hope. That may be a slight over exaggeration, but I think I cried a little that morning. When I went to the pantry for what I wanted most it was gone.

The principle of the pantry is a great reminder of how relationship is designed to work. Unless we understand and own our role in that enterprise, we will be the ones to damage or destroy the thing we value so much.

In my 35 years of marriage and coaching I’ve come to realize something very practical and important about relationships. Not just marriage but all relationships. If all involved invest, all involved have plenty. If our focus is keeping the shelves full, making sure the Cap’n Crunch is well stocked there will always be plenty.

While my childhood need seemed to be fellowship with the captain, my need with my wife is much deeper and different. The manner in which I need to relate to my co-workers needs more than artificial flavor and my children more than a sugar buzz after breakfast.

The principle of the pantry is this, in relationships always be stocking the shelves… with the right things. Respect and honor, love and care, hard work and commitment, patience and more patience and maybe a little more patience. High expectations seasoned with patience. A whole bunch of intentional and healthy words of affirmation. Honesty, lots and lots of honesty.

There are obviously more. But the principle is this, if people in relationship realize the need to pour into the other there will always be plenty to go around. If, however, I choose to not invest in the relationship and only take from the pantry at some point it will be depleted.

And one day when you least expect it, the Captain could be gone.