Monday, November 15, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Last Sunday, in between services, I paused ever so briefly for coffee and a deep breath of cool autumn air in our courtyard. One of our young children was on the play-set and Dad was watching.

“Who is he today,” I asked, because his child was clearly in a world unto himself.

“These days, he mostly been a tortoise,” Dad offered.

A tortoise. All week, I’ve been a race car driver, a rocket ship pilot, a marathon runner in high gear. A tortoise. Slow down. Enjoy the view. Practice breathing. Don’t forget to exhale. Yes.

And then after leading ECC chapel on Monday, another child. Ingrid, our youth director, met me in the lower hall outside the courtyard door. One of the young ones from chapel was standing at the door.

“How was chapel?” Ingrid asked the little guy.

He got this big smile on his face and began jumping up and down. Didn’t say anything, just jumped, over and over again, grinning wider on each jump.

“Don’t you wish folks would react like that after Sunday services?” Ingrid laughed.



  1. The Tortoise wins the race, as they say!

    I wish I could turn back the hands of time to once again have the inquisitive eye of a child; to be care-free, to wonder in awe at everything; and to be able to express my delight by jumping high into the air or wildly clapping my hands :-)

  2. There are plenty of times I walk out of church with my forehead wrinkled. This is usually followed by a passionate discussion with my wife in the car on the way home. Since the kids are in the backseat hearing everything we say, my unscientific sample says that their smiles and frowns are distributed approximately equally. I remember as a child, there were plenty of times I wasn't smiling trying to discover the things that (I hope) God was putting in front of me.

    So, sure, abundant smiles are the objective. But, sometimes it takes a few frowns and wrinkled foreheads to get there. Or, to put it in Pastor John-speak, there are times when the tortoise rules, and there are times when you get to enjoy the pedal to the metal.

  3. @Roy: you reminded me of times I've been in some contemporary worship services, urged to stand and clap and wave my hands, and I was just not there. I'm not sure what I needed--perhaps a good old psalm of lament, a cry of pain, or just shaking a fist heavenward. Sometimes the best response, as you say, is a thoughtful, hmmm ... a lingering question, a prick of conscience.