Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Whisper

I LOVE Parent Teacher Conferences.

Mostly because I have fabulous kids. I've NEVER had a conference that was anything but glowing reports about the work and behavior of my children. I am blessed, this I know!

SO, yesterday was parent teacher conferences, and they went wonderful, just as I anticipated. I have a bunch of smarty-pants in my house, and they are all "joys to have in the classroom."

(I wish, however, their excellent behavior would extend at home as well, HA!)

I was SUPER excited to get to talk to Gabby's teacher though to find out how she is doing in Kindergarten. Gabby has always been super smart. She colors like NO kindergardner I've ever know, she knew all her letters going into school and most all her sounds. She, as I expected, is doing phenomonal.

The one thing about Gabby though, is that she whispers.

Not at home, mind you. She's loud as can be here!

But at school, she refuses to talk. If she needs to tell someone something, she whispers it to them. Has been this way from the first day of school.

I didn't realize this for a while. I mean, I knew she whispered to the teacher when we got there that first day, but I'd assumed that after a day or two of getting used to it, she would come out of her shell and talk more. Because... my Gabby is definitely a talker!

But about a month ago, she was getting ready to go to a friend's birthday party. She was VERY concerned about being able to go, and this is the reason she gave me. "Momma, I PROMISED < insert friend's name> I would talk to her at the party!"

This gave me pause. "You mean you don't normally talk to her?"

My daughter looked at me as if I'd grown five heads with horns on each of them. "NO!"

I thought for a moment. "Gabby, do you talk at all at school?"

She shook her head vehemently. "No, I whisper."

Keep in mind she'd been in school over a month at that point. And she'd NEVER talked to anyone, except a whisper.

BABY Gabby - Beautiful then, Beautiful now!
My heart just about broke. My sweet, sweet Gabby. Visions of her lonely in a corner, not talking to anyone, flashed in my head. What if kids teased her for her whispering? What if she became that lonely hermit that would never talk to anyone?

Yes, this Momma is a bit insecure.

She ended up going to the party, but the moment we got there, she clamped her lips shut. All her intentions of talking went through the window. Incidently, this was the same birthday party she got sick and threw up at. Not helpful!!!

Fast forward to conferences yesterday. I was really interested to see if the whispering had subsided, although through my conversations with Gabby, I was pretty sure it hadn't.

Sure enough, my daughter still whispers.

The teacher told me, and I agree, that she's decided to not call attention to it. She asks Gabby to speak louder when she needs to hear her. And there is one friend Gabby is very close to and talks to (usually whispers, but occasionally will forget and talk) so she has them sitting together and will keep them together most of the year to encourage this. (not often a teacher has to keep children together to MAKE one of them talk, HA!)

But this is what really stole my heart about the matter.

Her teacher told me that the other students are REALLY sweet about it. That they all encourage Gabby to talk, but in a very nice way. In fact, one time Gabby forgot to whisper and was talking out at recess, and some of the kids came to her and said, "Gabby, you have a really nice voice!"

I can see Gabby's blush now! But how PLEASED she would have been, that I know.

I came home and couldn't get the image out of my head.

Those little kindergardners, with their sweet hearts, had taught this Momma a lesson.

Instead of being "mean", or talking down to her because she won't talk, or ignoring her until she did, they "loved" her into talking. They encouraged her, they complemented her, they came to her level and didn't judge, but just loved her as she is.

What fabulous examples of Jesus these children are. Jesus comes to us, a broken people, and loves us anyway. He encourages us. He says, "My, what beautiful hearts you have!" Even in our sin, he sees underneath, he sees the potential.

I want to be that kind of mother, too. I tend to be a little more on the harsh side with my kiddos, and while I'll always be a bit of a disciplinarian, I'm learning that I need to show love even through my correction.

Reminds me of a discussion I had with my eldest daughter a few years ago. She wanted to know if she could go to school and tell ALL her friends that the HAD to ask Jesus into their hearts. Keep in mind, my daughter is quite bold. She totally would have gone and figuratively "beat them over the head" with her Bible. I explained that it is WONDERFUL to tell our friends about Jesus. But it is almost even MORE important to show them Jesus love.

When they see Jesus love in our lives, they'll be much more open to understanding the love and need for our Savior.

We were on our way to the grocery store having this conversation, and when we got there, I figured the topic dropped. But while we shopped, my daughter offered to help put things in the cart, and helped me put things into the car, things she normally wouldn't have thought to do. I found this odd, but sweet.

On the way home, she said, "Did you notice me? Did you notice me helping out and trying to show Jesus love to you?"

Needless to say, this Momma let out a few tears at that.

Discussion: What have YOU done to show Jesus love lately? Or, how have others shown Jesus love to YOU?

I'll start. I sent an e-mail the other day to a group of writer friends about a personal dilemma I was having. It was weighing on my heart, and making me feel not-quite-so-great about myself. And what did those friends do? They stood in the gap for me. They helped me with an issue I was really struggling with, and in such a sweet, kind manner as well.

This same group of friends, while I was in the hospital with Annabelle, send me cards/gifts every week or two for a period of 2 or 3 months, just to encourage and lift me up.  It meant the world to me!

There are a billion other examples of how people have showed Jesus' love to our family this past year. This blog post would be a mile long if I sat down to list them.

5 comments:

Jessica Nelson said...

Oh my goodness, this is so sweet! My son is in kindergarten too, btw. He loves letters and reading. Thank goodness!
But I've never had glowing reports about my kids. lol More like, he's good but needs to focus more. lol
Anyway, kids are wonderful. Oldest was just telling me last night about his friend who doesn't talk. He has a form of mutism but apparently Oldest does all the talking for the both of them and his friend writes things down. It really touched me that Matthew is friends with this boy and that they work past the communication differences in order to play.

Krista Phillips said...

Jessica, that is FANTASTIC that your son is doing that!!! Shows that he has a fabulous mother that shows him by example:-)

Katie Ganshert said...

I loved this post, Krista! I loved getting to know more about your kids and little Gabby. As a former teacher, I love when parents love parent teacher conferences, too!

Jill said...

I think the whispering is kind of cute--just one of those unique things kids will do. My four have had plenty of those over the years.

Linda B said...

I have a daughter who was also very loud at home but not in group situations. When she started in AWANAs, she really liked it and had nothing but good to say about it. But when I asked her teacher how she was doing (after several months), she said, "Oh, she's so sweet and helpful. She just doesn't ever talk." So I asked my daughter, "Is it true that you don't talk in AWANA?" And she said yes. When I asked her why not, she said, "because I don't want to. She remained very shy and unwilling to speak up anywhere but at home for many years. Now she is a confident senior in high school who went to Japan by herself for the whole summer and happily passed out tracts to complete strangers, using the few Japanese words she knows to talk to them. She's come a long way!