Monday, February 22, 2010


The more I live my life as a mother of four children, the more I realize how clever kids really are these days. There have been plenty of occasions when I have thought I had gotten the best of one of my children, only to find he/she ended up getting the best of me instead. I try to remember being that clever when I was young, but I just don't think I was. Apparently, I need to take "clever lessons" from my kids. At least I'm developing a healthy sense of humor; in fact, I'm learning that few things are greater than laughing right out loud when my kids have out-smarted me. It makes for a great memory.

For example, a couple mornings ago I was perched at the kitchen table, my head dropped over the scriptures as I read while my children busily finished eating their breakfast and got their school bags ready to go. I kept inadvertently lifting my head and glancing around to ensure my children were still in the room and listening (There's been more than one occasion when I've gotten a little too caught up in reading and looked up only to realize my children had disappeared and I was reading to myself--not that I don't need all the scripture reading I can get, but reading to no one but myself seems to mute the point of "family scripture study"). More than once I found myself shushing them and reminding them to be quiet and listen while I read. It seemed pretty obvious they were getting nothing out of our reading that morning, and I was feeling a little bit irritated by their basic apathy and lack of focus.

Now, I admit reading scriptures is probably not at the top of my children's "fun" list, and I also acknowledge that some days, the reading is even more laborious and difficult to understand than others, but that aside, it was still something we committed to do and had been doing for a long time. I found myself thinking they should be more interested than they were (I mean, they could have at least pretended to be listening, couldn't they? ), especially since I made a sincere effort to make the words we read come alive for us by pausing to try to explain what was happening and by occasionally inserting my own thoughts and feelings on our subject matter.

I finally finished the section, which happened to end like this: "Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready. Even so. Amen." Then, thinking to make a point to the kids that they needed to be better listeners, I decided to quiz my eight-year-old son about what we had just read, sure he would have no answer, driving my point right home.

"What was your favorite part of what I just read?" I asked, as if I was naive enough to think he'd actually been listening. I flashed him my famous "I caught you again" grin, and waited for him to falter so I could begin my lecture, but just as I opened my mouth, he surprised me with a confident answer . . .

"The 'amen!'"

I burst into laughter at his all-too-clever response. "At least you're honest," I chuckled, realizing how true his answer had really been. I'm sure the "amen" probably was his favorite part since that meant the section was over!

I sent my kids out the door to school without the lecture, grateful my son had lightened the moment, even if his answer only proved he hadn't been listening to what I read (I'm pretty sure the only word he remembered from the reading was the last word I had said--"amen"). Laughing together was a much better way to end our morning than my harping would have been, and I found myself smiling and chuckling inside throughout the entire day whenever I thought of his quick answer.

So, although my kids will probably always find ways to get the best of me, I can at least honestly say . . . I'm looking forward to it!


Brian and Rebecca Nate said...

I can definitely see Nate saying that with a crooked little grin on his face! I think we think that a lot of the time our kids aren't listening, and they aren't sometimes, but it's the example we set for them that continues on. I really believe that. Hope all is well. Take care.