Kids rock! They are also remarkably smart for not being particularly capable of speaking (aside from the occasional quack quack, gobble gobble). My kids in particular (are geniuses, not incapable of speaking). As I’m sure any momma reading this knows, you stand back and watch your child do something and think, “seriously, you are the smartest ____[insert age] year old to have ever walked the Earth!” You don’t share this information with other mothers because you would hate for them to feel inferior. But you walk along, much like Bridget Jones said of smug marrieds, smug in the knowledge that you have spawned itty bitty bits of fabulousness.
What is it for your kids? Talking, counting, reading, dancing, running……..I could go on with a list for days. Luckily for me, I have triplets. 14 month old geniuses. And because they are all so different, they are each genius in their own way. The little lady is all rhythm and motion and gymnastic stunts that would stand your hair on end. The eldest can figure out any toy you give to him that day and will not stop until he understands its inner workings. And the baby, despite being our comic relief, knows his colors and shapes and wants to learn all the time.
But last night it dawned on me that they are sometimes very bright in ways that we don’t traditionally recognize. My youngest screamed and cried hysterically last night. First it was before dinner about 6 pm and I figured he either just missed his daddy or was hungry/sleepy/etc. After dinner, it subsided and he went to bed. But within an hour he was up screaming and crying hysterically again. Seriously, this toddler was really upset about something. He wasn’t sick – no fever or lack of eating. He’d taken his naps that day. Played regularly. Gone to the bathroom. But even with my husband home and rocking him (he’s his favorite), he could not be consoled. Meanwhile, his uncontainable loudness woke the other two who also began crying, and I frantically tried to soothe them back to sleep. Upon achieving mild success, I raced to our bedroom where my husband was trying everything he could to calm the little man down. Hoping change would work, I scooped him up and showed him, very energetically, the ducks outside mommy and daddy’s bedroom door (long story, he loves ducks so my husband has duck decoys floating in our pool which are the source of constant amusement). Then I wrapped him in a blanket and walked him outside to fetch the outdoor stuffed duck we play with in the swings. He finally began to calm. And then I sang to him in our room, and laid with him in our bed, and eventually (after over half an hour) transferred him to a pack-and-play at the foot of our bed in case he became distraught again.
Long story you say, this does not make your child a genius. While it may not make my child in particular a genius, it does make children geniuses. They can scream. They scream in defiance. Scream in pain. Scream in anguish. Scream when they REALLY need your attention. Scream when they want to be held. But uniformly they scream until they have your attention and you fix their pain.
When does the screaming stop? At what age? When do we feel constrained by society to stop screaming? And to take it even a step further, to stop acknowledging or letting others acknowledge that we are hurting. I mean there’s exceptions in society for death or certain dramatic crises. But, by and large, we have all been silenced.
It is the anti-thesis of genius to stifle your pain, your suffering, your need to be held – to stuff it and bear it alone.
Can’t you just hear Job screaming when he uttered, “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it. May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm it. That night—may thick darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months.”
Can’t you hear David? “Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
Daniel? “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.”
Jesus? “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
During the next season of your suffering, or mine, and Lord willing it is far off, pray we won’t feel ashamed to scream. Scream to the Savior. Cry out in a loud voice. Even if there are no words, even if the pain can’t be contained in phrases or syllables, that has never stopped a parent from giving comfort to her child before and I feel certain it won’t stop our Father. No matter where you are in your relationship, you are His, created and birthed by Him:
Psalm 86 – For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.
Isaiah 12 – Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.
Psalm 71 – Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more.