Thursday, March 20, 2008

When You Don't Think They are Listening

This event occurred the week of October 1, 2007.
Your kids are listening when you least expect it.

No, this is not a post about embarrassing revelations; it is about a little boy and a painting. An illustration of heaven, in fact.

Some months ago, while I was on my internet diet, I read the story of Jacob to the children. Imagine the scene painted by Norman Rockwell : the well-coiffed mother with Bible open on her lap, baby nestled on her chest, a toddler under one arm, and a preschooler on her knee. A darling five-year old boy with a cowlick sits next to them listening intently. Except, in place of the boy paying rapt attention, substitute Agent 002 bouncing up and down on his knees, and picture the baby wriggling so much that he knocks the Bible off of the woman's lap every seventeen seconds. But otherwise it looked just like Rockwell painted us, I promise :)

In typical 3-year old fashion, Agent 004 asked a million and seven questions about the story. She was particularly caught up on the color of heaven, which is purple in the illustration on that page of our children's Bible.

All the while, Agent 002 bounced away on the other side of the tent with a toy in front of his face. It bothered me that he was not listening, but I decided to leave well enough alone and be happy that two of the four children seemed to be learning something from this experience.

A few minutes later we retired to the "red room" to play. Agent 004 pulled out a puzzle, Cousin F started coloring, and Cousin P crawled into the pool of rice. Agent 002 donned a smock and started painting at the easel. I watched him make broad strokes of red, then cover it up with swashes of blue. Then he flipped his brush over to etch into his painting with the blunt end of the brush.

In an accusatory tone, I asked him what he thought he as doing.
"Making the stairs so that the angels can come down from heaven into Jacob's dream."
He had painted the entire story, including the elements that were only in the illustrations he had never seen. He had been listening the entire time -- to my reading and to his sister's queries.

A glimpse of heaven through a five-year old's eyes (or is that ears?):


Kate in NJ said...

You have got to love that!

Rockin' Moroccan Mama said...

wow, that must have made you proud. You wrote it so well. I could just picture it. Now that picture you have to keep. :)