Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sabbath Amusements X

Today, during Primary's Sharing Time, Kate was reading from a book by Deborah Pace Rowley.

In the story, she introduced a young boy and girl, their mother, and these fellas:

Every time the boy and girl in the story disagree and fight with each other, their mother says she can hear a "Contention Monster", and sometimes she even looks for the "Contention Monsters" in the area where her two children are playing. Later in the story, the two children make good choices, and offer acts of service. In response, their mother remarks that angels must have been around.

After finishing the story, addressing the junior primary, Kate led with an application question; "Now, tell me by putting up your hand - do you sometimes have 'Contention Monsters' in your home".

Lots of hands flew up. The forthrightness of this group confession - that moments of disharmony do exist in otherwise happy homes - already had me amused. I tried to imagine a teacher asking the same question in adult Sunday School...then shook my head back into the present.

Melody, Kate's own daughter, was amongst the group. Her hand waved high in the air - the teacher's home was reportedly no exception..yup, "Contention Monsters" there too - but this was apparently not enough, she desperately had to show she was listening and involved in her mother's story-telling, and so she answered loudly, "Millions!" She sat back with a giggle and a smile.

Kate melodramatically wilted at the front. Perhaps now wasn't the best time for hyperbole?

The rest of the children became quite excited, and things got a little noisy as we recovered from Melody's whole-hearted and frank participation. Kate drew the group back in by noting that "Contention Monsters" tend to be accompanied by noise, and angels are usually quiet.

My heart welled over with love-juice as she then sincerely described how she had recently taken a rare moment to herself to listen to some church music, and while she was quiet and reverent, she felt the Holy Spirit whisper ideas to her of how to take care of the "millions of Contention Monsters" in her home. As she embraced Melody's contribution to the lesson, this simple testimony became a powerful teaching opportunity, and one I wish to remember.

Ever had an open and talkative child reveal a lot about you or your home? Or perhaps, in earnest (like Melody), make things sound like they're a lot worse than they really are?


Illustrations from Before They Turn Twelve, Deborah Pace Rowley - available from Deseret Book.
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