Epiphany From a Sock Puppet

**In honor of my beautiful daughter’s 12th birthday this week, I thought I’d repost this.  This is one of the first articles I wrote for this blog, and I strongly feel that its message is one we’d all do well to contemplate now and again.  Especially as many of us are heading back into the fray of another school year, we must remember to be intentional about our words.  Enough said.

ID-10035566

The sock was a surprisingly good conversationalist.  It sported cheerful neon stripes and the face of Hello Kitty. Though Kitty was now looking at me upside down, as the verbose footwear was currently gracing my young daughter’s arm.  I watched for a moment as my progeny carried on both sides of a very animated exchange.  This daughter of mine is a talker.  Not just chatty, mind you.  She can ‘talk the leg off a table,’ as my Dad used to say.  And since no one in the family wanted to talk with her, she had resorted to pulling off her sock and creating an impromptu sock puppet friend.  A companion who would stay engaged for as long as she wished.

I was amused, but a bit sad as well.  You see, we had been sending her the message that her verbal nature was a negative thing.  It was unintentional, of course.  My husband and I, both serious introverts, simply couldn’t keep up with this child who had to process everything out loud. Our little chatterbox was driving us crazy!

It is all too easy to engage in negative labeling.  “She’s our chatterbox”, “He’s my handful”, or the ever popular, “This one drives me crazy!”  All are the normal rants of tired and overstressed Moms.

 The danger lies in allowing these labels to define a person.

 We promote a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy when we regularly say such devaluing words.  And when we are so unwise as to voice them within earshot of siblings, they will inevitably begin to parrot those discouraging sentiments.  Thus, the spirit of a child withers and withdraws.

I’m ashamed to admit that for years, we had given my daughter the impression that her need to verbalize was a character flaw.  I heard my other children deride her for her many words, and I saw her normally sunny countenance grow wary and sad as a result.  This led to a startling idea that really baked my noodle.

 What if that ‘negative’ trait in my child is actually God’s gifting yet undeveloped?

 Once I opened my eyes to the devastation this was causing I set out on a mission to set it right.  Two years later I am still fighting the damage.  Our children are exactly that.  Children.  It is our job to guide them into maturity.  We are to be on the lookout for what talents they possess, and then teach them to use them for God’s purposes.  They will not learn to balance those gifts without our patient tutelage.

I now try to teach balance to my budding orator.  I tell her that she must be aware that, “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking…” (Proverbs 10:19)  But I also tell her that perhaps God will use her to speak or write words of wisdom and encouragement to the benefit of many.  I find areas where her gifts shine, like theater, and dream with her that perhaps He will use her on stage to illustrate His truths through drama. I tell her that He created her just the way He wants her to be and that she is wonderfully made. 

Remember that labels, even when earned, have a tendency to stick long after a person has outgrown it.  And really, who wants to carry that kind of old baggage around?  I certainly don’t.  God’s mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) That is true for our children and, thankfully, for Moms like me who sometimes blow it badly!

Photo by luigi diamanti, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Epiphany From a Sock Puppet

  1. Your daughter is very blessed to have a wise mom who can shepherd her “gift of gab” for God’s glory! I wonder if she is like the DJ on a local Christian station in our city. He can talk fast and yet articulately, with great inflection, too. I LOVE to hear him talk. Perhaps your daughter will be an inspirational speaker!

    Like

    • I do think the Lord will use her gift of gab in a wonderful way someday. She is a natural writer and actor, and watching her talents grow is one of my great joys. Thanks for stopping by, Nancy! Blessings to you– 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s