Favorite story of last week. Adorable little freckled faced boy with huge smile and shaggy hair sits next to me while teacher is telling the Bible story. He can’t stop wiggling and moving. Bouncing in his chair. Happy. Full of life. Each time the teacher speaks, he shouts the first thought that pops in his head. Finally, after much redirection and gentle prodding, I ask him to come outside with me.
“Am I in trouble?” he asked with his head down.
“Should you be?” I replied.
“I don’t know. Mrs. Stephanie, I can’t help it!” he starts. “I’m just happy! I’m really really happy. I have funny thoughts in my head and when I think them I smile and laugh and then I get in trouble.”
“I can totally relate!!” I said with excitement. “I know how it feels to be really happy and think really funny thoughts,” I explained to my new friend. “When you ask Jesus into your heart,” I told him. “God will put his spirit in you,”
“Oh yeah!” he said with excitement. “I’ve seen that on a video game!” I didn’t want to squelch his enthusiasm, so I nodded, “Okay, yeah, kinda like that.”
“When God puts his spirit in your heart, it’s the spirit’s job to create self-control.”
He interrupted, “Yeah that’s what all my teachers tell me I need.”
“Have you asked Jesus into your heart?” I asked gently.
I could see his bright smile begin to disappear, “Yes, last year.”
Then his head fully dropped, smile gone, totally deflated.
“What’s wrong?” I asked feeling so sad for my friend.
“I haven’t talked to God in a long time,” he said.
“God is with you and loves you. He will forgive you and he’s waiting to talk to you!” I encouraged.
“Really?” his face began to brighten.
The conversation continued about a gazillion different things but I learned a very valuable lesson from my happy friend.
Let kids talk. Listen. You’ll learn a lot about what’s going on inside.
Actually…let everyone talk. Listen. You’ll learn more about the people in your world than you ever dreamed.
Everyone should be quick to listen. James 1:19a