The first pancake isn’t always a flop

Photo by Charity Banks.

By Kristen Banks 

I’ve always heard when making pancakes that the first one you make usually turns out to be a flop and most people just throw it out. But, I’ve never really subscribed to that way of thinking myself. I usually just put the first one on bottom, and let the rest of them cover him up.

I’ve always felt like although the first pancake might either be a little underdone, or a tad too crispy around the edges it’s still the foundation that the rest of the stack is laid upon. By the time the last buttery brown pancake has been flipped to perfection high atop its friends, slathered in syrup, and my fork has sliced and married several buttery fluffy layers, I have forgotten all about the wonky guy on the bottom and all of his problems. He tastes just as good to me as the overachiever on the top.

We love to hang quilts in the hall at my shop. I especially love to hang the work of beginners. I think people should be just as proud of their first quilt as they are of their 50th quilt. True, those beginning projects may have a few more mistakes or lack the finesse in execution that only a seasoned quilter can achieve, but they are no less an accomplishment.

And as you’ve probably heard somewhere before, “a finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt.” That’s especially true in this day in age when people find it hard to stick with and finish anything. I think a completed project, at any level, is truly something to be proud of.

People love to walk down our hall and admire all of the beautiful quilts as they make their way back to my store. I usually walk with them and tell them the story of each and every quilt and about the special people who made them.

I once came upon a lady I had never met before in my hall looking at some of my own work. Before I could tell her all of the things I would normally tell her about this particular quilt and how fun it was to work on, she began to criticize one of my techniques. I sat and listened as she picked apart everything I had done, and it wasn’t long before I realized that based upon this one quilt, a woman I didn’t know had disqualified me as a good quilter. Surprisingly, I wasn’t mad at her as I stood there and listened to what kind of a quilter I was in her opinion.

She was totally right in the fact that my work on this particular quilt was lacking, however she was wrong in making a judgment on my work as a whole based on one project. What she didn’t know was that the quilt she was looking at represented the very first time I had attempted this particular technique; a technique that I have performed to satisfaction dozens of times since. If she had only happened upon the last quilt that I had bound by machine, instead of the first, she might have been impressed instead of critical of my abilities.

This experience made me wonder how many times I have formed an opinion about someone based on one event or piece of information. How many times have I made a judgment on someone based on one mistake? It seems like in this day and age that we’re all quick to point out where someone is lacking. We tend to quickly disqualify people based on one misstep or immature statement. We forget that people have the ability to learn, grow, and change.

Thankful for us, God sees the end from the beginning. When He looks at our life He doesn’t see all of our problems, failures, and deficiencies. He sees the whole stack of pancakes, the culmination of who we can become through the love and sacrifice of His Son. And I’m sure glad that He does, because if He didn’t I don’t think there is one of us that would measure up based on our own merits and performance.

I hope that I can learn to see people the way that God sees them. I hope that I can be merciful when people make mistakes, and slow to make judgments while people are still learning. And most of all I hope I give others the room to change and grow the way the Lord has given me, because where I am today is not where I will end up, and who He is what I hope to become.


  1. Terry Slaten says:

    Now this, will preach. Love it.