A couple days ago Dana and I were trying to decide whether to attend an upcoming Bible Study or stay home. We are usually faithful attenders, but we had just gotten back from out of town, and we had a lot to get ready before another trip. To seal the deal, we realized that we have 3 evenings planned in the next 2 weeks where we will be going out together and getting a babysitter for the kids. As I picked green beans in my glorious garden, with the kids running around in the yard and helping pick once in a while, Dana and I discussed how we didn’t want to have yet another night where we didn’t spend time with our kids. So, we weighed our options and decided to skip the Bible study this one time. Dana went back into the house and I didn’t think too much of it. But then a minute or two later, Hannah came up and said, “Daddy, I’m glad that you guys think about us, instead of just deciding what to do.” I asked her what she meant, and she said, “You didn’t just decide to go to the Bible Study – you knew that we need you to be with us.” I didn’t know that she was listening…let alone comprehending what our discussion was about. You would think I would know that by now!
Even though I don’t know what it means, I often remind myself that “Little pitchers have big ears.” I know that we need to be careful. They hear and understand more than you think. Kids are born empathizers, and many of them can read you so well that even if you say only a few words they will piece together what you are talking about. (Sometimes I think that they can read minds, but that is another post for another day.) So, I have to watch my language – nothing coarse or crude. I have to watch my topics – nothing too unsettling or scary or sad. And nothing that we want them to (innocently) gossip about with other kids or parents!
So that is the negatives side. The positive spin on this concept is that we can be purposeful about sometimes letting the kids hear us talk about topics that will benefit them. For instance, you can model good negotiating and problem solving skills in a relationship. (How to fight fair.) You can verbalize your values, principles, and priorities. In this case it was good for Hannah to see us work through our options, and it was reassuring for her to hear us talk about how much she means to us. This to me is a new spin on an old adage.
I like using this phrase, because the kids don’t know what it means. Or at least, I don’t think they do. But to be honest, I’ve never understood the phrase either. So, I asked Professor Google and found out the very obvious answer: if you look at a pitcher, the handle looks like an ear. And even a little pitcher can have a big handle. Mystery solved! So with that in mind, the next time you see a pitcher with a handle, you can be reminded to purposefully avoid the bad and choose the good when having a conversation in front of little kids.
Do you have any stories that go along with this concept? Have you ever found yourself with a gold star moment or a clip for the outtakes reel?