The Stupid Things Our Children Make Us Say
This week is Spring Break for my children. Unfortunately for them, we aren’t poolside in Cabo nor building sand castles in Miami. They are experiencing the joys of a Northwest Spring Break; torrential rain and all.
Bike rides and picnics being out of question (and me refusing to spend my afternoon at Wacky Bounce House with all the other desperate mothers), grandma and I took them shopping today.
At the toy store Grandma told them to pick something out. My daughter picked a stuffed chicken with animal print body and a pink mohawk. Grandma found an owl-shaped purse that she thought was “way cooler.” In the middle of the toy store she held the crazy chicken in one hand, the owl purse in the other, and with a completely straight face said to my daughter: “what you need to think about is which one is more practical.”
My daughter, foregoing the “you could carry your gymnastics grips in it” owl purse, chose the chicken.
As much as I mocked my mother for her “practicality” comment, I can now be quoted as saying the following:
“I think Lady Gaga is a great name for a chicken!”
“Step away from the chicken, and put down the hair gel.”
“No I won’t buy you that shirt because it matches your chicken.”
“If that’s going to be your attitude, I might just have to give Lady Gaga to a child who will appreciate her.’
(and as she was leaving to stay the night at grandma’s house) “Don’t forget your chicken!”
I would like to think that I am molding and shaping my children, but according to my current vernacular they are molding and shaping me.
Sure I taught my son how to twirl his fork to keep the spaghetti on, but he taught me that Pokémon is more than just a game. “It’s about taking care of animals.” I did demonstrate to my daughter that hair clips should be placed with purpose, not randomly shoved in mass quantities. But she proved to me that neon really can be stylish despite it’s early demise in the late Eighties.
Today I learned that funky chicken is more than just a dance performed at summer camp.
I find myself shushing my children a lot. Raising my finger and asking for a moment of silence while I finish a phone conversation, complete a thought via email, find out who didn’t get a rose last night. I wonder what delights I might experience if I hushed less, and listened more.
My son once climbed into bed with me just to explain the difference between a leopard and a cheetah. His knowledge of big cats and their spots was impressive. My daughter once climbed into my lap and recounted all the dramas of the day. The moral of her story was that in the end “we worked it out and were friends again.” Her insight into the importance of conflict resolution could have brought peace to the Middle East.
God tells us to be slow to speak and quick to listen. I always figured that God was just trying to keep me from saying something stupid (to which I say “good luck with that God.”), but maybe it’s more than that. Nothing drowns-out like the sound of my own voice. It drowns out my children, the world around me, the God who loves me.
Learning begins by listening. Every moment that we are quiet, is a moment that we invite wisdom into our lives. In silence we are molded. God is not asking us to be mute, He is asking us to be teachable.
Being slow to speak does not eliminate the possibility of using Lady Gaga and Chicken in the same sentence. It does mean, that we will know why a stuffed chicken is way more practical than an owl purse.