I’ve had multiple times to ponder that exact question and I must say that some days I’m not quite sure!
A few months back, Haley, my granddaughter, asked me what the difference was between “concentration” and “contemplation.” Wow! Good question. Not sure I’ve ever really thought about it much before. So, after a quick mental back-and-forth battle, I answered her the best I could.
Thing is, she has kept me on my toes a lot! My daughter, Stasie, and I noticed a good while back that Haley has a thing for words. It seems that every time we turn around she is coming up with a word or phrase that takes us by surprise. And, what’s more, she usually uses it in the right context, or at least pretty close.
Take for instance one drive home from Sunday morning church. Stasie and I were talking about how unusually tired we both seemed to be and were seriously debating having nap time before lunch. (Nate, my 3-year-old grandson, had already dozed off in his car seat, making our situation that much worse and our decision that much easier.) Overhearing our conversation about napping, Haley chimed in saying, “Well, I prefer to just rest.” What 6-year-old uses the word “prefer” over the words “want to”?
She got to “just rest.”
Or, take the time she asked me if I could “accelerate” through the frozen food aisle because she was cold.
Sure thing! So I chuckled and sped up.
Then there was the time she decided I not only needed to zip my winter coat, but button it as well. So she stood there facing me and, with gloved hands, began to button my coat for me. Without giving up and without taking her gloves off, she finally succeeded at getting all 4 buttons through their corresponding holes and in place. Then she stood back and exclaimed, “Well, that was a struggle!”
“Yes, honey, it sure was!”
Last week as Haley and I were waiting at the bottom of the hill for her school bus, I began asking her questions about her bus “seat-mate.” I learned that he was a boy, that he was probably 5 or 6 years old, and that he was maybe in Kindergarten. When I asked what his name was, Haley paused for a while and said, “Well, that question has me stumped!” Then, with finger raised, she said, “But I will discover it eventually!”
I’m sure you will!
I just stood there shaking my head. I’m not sure what this young lady will grow up to be or do for a living, but I suspect it will have something to do with words — either written or spoken. And I will try my best not to discourage her interest, but will instead encourage her natural ability to grasp words and their meanings. The next time she begs to join in a Scrabble game, I just might include her — even if it does mean I might lose!
Am I smarter than a 6-year-old? I’m still not sure. I like to think so — at least most of the time! One thing I do know is that this amazing granddaughter is a lot smarter than I was at her age.
But I wonder something. Haley has no idea she has a gift for words. She just uses them. When either Stasie or I comment about what she just said, you can see from her expression she’s trying to figure out why what she said was so amazing or unusual. She doesn’t see her gift or ability as anything special — yet. To her it’s as natural as breathing.
As you know, I can’t let this story end without a life lesson being learned or a life application that I need to take to heart. What I have personally taken away from these reflections is this: I know that God gives all of us different gifts and abilities. And it’s up to me to make the best use of the ones he has given specifically to me.
But I’m left wondering: Do I have a gift or ability others see in me that I may be in denial of — yet? Is there something that comes as naturally to me as breathing that I haven’t seen as anything special — yet? Is there something more I need to be doing for God that I’m not doing — yet?
I’m fairly certain the answer to all three questions is, “Yes.” If so, then I need to take some action. I need to focus on getting rid of my “yets.”