Despite yesterday’s episode, Nate woke up this morning feeling like a million bucks. But his cheerful disposition and appetite weren’t the only things that returned today. His words were back with a vengeance today…and all the coffee in the world couldn’t prepare my ears to hear all of them.
My Nate is sweet, affectionate, outgoing, extremely intelligent, and downright hilarious. He boldly professes his faith to anyone who will listen and has told many a stranger about his plans to be a missionary in Syria someday. He’s got a big personality, and an even bigger heart. But there’s one strand of Nate’s DNA that I’m slightly embarrassed to admit he inherited from me–the strand that dictates the number of words that his brain must send forth from his lips each day. Nate is a talker. He talks loudly to anyone, everyone, and absolutely no one at times. The number of words that Nate uses in one day is precisely 97,375,920,989,659,829,028,472,948,026,349,426,786. Trust me. I’m his mother. I homeschool him. I have counted.
Today He had no choice but to release all the words he saved up yesterday PLUS all the words his brain had ready for today. That added up to so. many. words. Consequently, during history today he felt he needed to “add” to the lesson. He paused from the reading after every other sentence to share his thoughts. He discussed “how funny the last name ‘Goodnight’ is,” “how much money $7, 500.00 must have been to the cowboys back in the day,” and to explain “how naughty it was of those cowboys to hang out in saloons and spend all their money drinking and gambling when they could have been saving it to buy more cattle which would have been an investment like daddy talks about investments instead of wasting it on such horrible things which were going to leave them poor and probably homeless when they could have been rich…” Bless it. Just as I was beginning to think that the lesson would go on for hours, he stopped talking and stared at the book. For the third time in three paragraphs he had lost his place!!! He looked me square in the eyes and said with the most poker-straight face, “Wow. I really do talk a lot, don’t I?” We both burst into laughter. We laughed so hard that his side was hurting and I had tears streaming down my cheeks. History class was officially dismissed.
As I tucked him in and prayed with him tonight, he brought the whole scene up again. Again, we both burst into delirious laughter. And when we finally composed ourselves I opened the Bible that he keeps by his bed. Together we read a few scriptures that are near and dear to my heart and overly-talkative lips:
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. Proverbs 10:19 NLT
A truly wise person uses few words. Proverbs 17:27 NLT
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. James 1:19 NIV
My favorite part of homeschooling my kids are all the little lessons that take place long after our books and pencils are put away. He and I may not have finished that history lesson earlier; but tonight we laid side-by-side on his bed and had a life lesson instead. A lesson about choosing our words carefully, so that we can say what is wise and true instead of foolishly blabbing opinions that nobody asked for. A lesson about seeing our words as an opportunity to build others up instead of tearing them down. A lesson on talking less so we can listen intently to others and hear the still, small voice of the Spirit when He speaks because learning to listen to others is really good practice for learning to listen to God. He told me how happy it makes him when he knows he has been heard and understood. I pointed out that even adults feel that way, too. Nate and I fist-bumped and agreed that we would practice listening better to each other first, so that God can use us to listen better to others and to Him.
Today I’m less grateful for history lessons, and more grateful for life lessons. I’m grateful for my 9-year-old son and every one of his words. Nate and I may not be the best listeners in the world right now, but we promised each other tonight that we would help one another do better. And any promise I make to Nate, is one he won’t ever let me forget.