Thursday, September 17, 2009

Listen to the Little Voices

The voice of a child. 

Some days . . . okay, many days, I subconsciously relate a child's voice with needless interruption, daunting questions, and idle chatter.

Shame on me.

The voice of a child.  By itself, it is sweet, gentle, and innocent.  Something to behold.  It is different from ours, from adults'.  It hangs in a higher octave, filled with extra character and authenticity . . . these differences alone compel it to be noticed, noted, and heard.

Have you ever noticed how much more beautiful and important and profound something sounds in the voice of a child?

Yesterday was a frazzling day of errands, appointments, and commitments.  Nothing soothed me yesterday.  Not my cup of hot tea, not a little mindless knitting, not even a hot shower.  Then, in the most hectic hour of my day came comfort and joy and peace.  All in a single word:  puppy.  "Puppy," as said over and over by my six year old daughter while we read a book together after school.

Have you ever noticed how the most basic, committed-to-memory childhood tales take on a profound urgency and deep meaningfulness by the voice of a child?  The Itsy Bitsy Spider becomes an inspiring tale of hope and perseverance.  Humpty Dumpty becomes quite a tragedy.   My son's recitation of the opening lines of T'was the Night Before Christmas can make me a believer all over again. 

To this day, in all my almost-40 years, I don't know that I've spent a more profound, soul-filling hour than sitting next to my son, his head leaning on my shoulder, as he read to me about the misadventures of Mole, Rat, and Mr. Toad from his child's version of The Wind in the Willows.  Honestly, I keep that memory stored close in my heart, for quick reference on a particularly challenging day.  And I am so very thankful for that precious gift . . . it will be with me through my dying day.

When my son learned The Pledge of Allegiance in second grade . . . the special care he took in pronouncing "republic," I tell you, it pierced my heart and tweaked a string of patriotism in me no history lesson or trip to our nation's capital has ever approached.  I thought maybe it was just me, proud mama and all.  I tried it out on our extended family as we gathered around my mother's table for Christmas dinner.  Was it just me?  After his sweet, innocent recitation . . . nope, it wasn't just me.

So, today, I will cleanse my ears and my subconscious and start over.  Begin fresh.  I will stop the mental sigh I often have when one of them interrupts my thought process with their usual, "Mommy?"  No more inner eye rolls.  They have been given their sweet, compelling voices for a reason.  They have something to share; they offer something to be heard; they have something I need. 

I just need to listen with a heart as pure and open as are their sweet voices.



tdjunkie said...

Thanks Renee for the reality check. I will have more patience tonight while I am listening to my children. We are lucky to have them.

Becky said...


Sue said...

Truer words were never spoken, Renee.

Rose said...

Love this message! Thanks so much for sharing.

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