What Do We Hear?

March 20, 1998
by Mary Daniel

Mark 10:15 – Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

Our middle daughter had a knack for hearing things just a little incorrectly… somewhat akin to Ruthie in the comic strip "One Big Happy".

I remember the time we pulled up to a hamburger place, school coupon in hand, and said "OK, let's go in and get our free hamburger." My five year old recoiled in fear and said "No, we can't, we can't go and get it." I assured her that I had the coupon. "But we don't have a parrot," she replied. Perplexed for a moment, a light switched on and I assured her that the coupon said the child had to be with a parent, not a "parrot".

Another time, on the way home from church and Sunday school my dear little soul was gleefully humming a new hymn, then belted out the chorus "Jesus took away our bourbon"! Oh dear God, I thought, please help me with this one… and it came to me that what she should be singing was "Jesus took away our burdens".

Although my parents didn't drink, growing up and living in a northern "redneck" community up into the seventies meant drinking had been more than socially acceptable, it was encouraged, a way of life. However, responsibilities grow with children; examples must be set. Their various activities required being driven at all times of the day and night. And too, friends' lives had been taken and torn apart by the combination of cars and alcohol. It just couldn't be a part of my life when I was constantly behind the wheel.

Sometimes things heard incorrectly are an opportunity to really listen, to see another side, to see things in another light.

Children are our "parrots". When they are little, they repeat what we say and do. I guess you could say in some respects, my daughter's version had a ring of truth to it, Jesus did take away our bourbon… and thus, our burdens.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for those times when we are forced to listen just a little more closely. Thank you for our children who teach us daily; what a wonderful gift you give us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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