Thursday, March 8, 2012

An Inability to Pronounce "Rural" (and other childhood crises)

During one elementary school social studies class we often read pages from our textbook aloud.  Each student took turns reading one paragraph, and I always counted ahead to see which paragraph would be mine.  I breathed a sigh of relief if it didn't have the word "rural" in it, and I lamented my fate if it did.  That word was impossible to pronounce.

As a child I disliked wearing a hat during winter because I thought I looked goofy.

In early middle school I habitually complimented a popular girl who lived in my neighborhood while we stood at the bus stop.  Depending on the day I told her that I liked her shoes, her jacket, her outfit, or her hair.  And daily, I immediately chided myself for my striving when she thanked me coolly.

These crises seem insignificant now that I face problems of adulthood .  But as a child, these issues were the stuff of journal entries, the concerns of my heart.  They were very real.

I think of this on the day when my daughter tells me that she and Emma didn't get along during the bus ride home, or when she voices her disappointment that the kids in Mrs. Bryant's class cheated during gym class.

Those issues may be small to me, but they're not to her.  I can't jump in with quick fixes or pat answers.  But I can listen.  And if and when it's time to speak, I can respond as someone who remembers what it's like.

Let's remember how it felt to be 6 or 8 or 11 years old today.  Let's listen from their level.

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4 comments:

  1. Lisa PolleyMarch 08, 2012

    I absolutely still can not say 'rural'. Or 'drawer'. I sound like I'm eating my tongue. 

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  2. So true. Doesn't everyone just want to be listened to? The world would be a kinder and gentler place if we all just paused to do this. And maybe if we listen to our kids, they'll grow up to listen to others. Cycle of goodness.
    And what evil-doer came up with Worcestershire Sauce? At least it didn't come up in elementary school social studies textbooks...much.  Ellen

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  3. I join older daughter every day for breakfast and I try to absorb every little thing she tells me. You're right- what we consider petty stuff are pretty serious for kids.

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  4. www.pinkbears.caMarch 09, 2012

    I love this comment.  I think about how things change when we get older and can see a 'bigger picture'.  I imagine that this is what it is like for God to hear about our 'big issues' - even the ones that still seem REALLY BIG to me right now - and I think He does the same thing - He listens!

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