Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Like what?

This morning I witnessed the impossible.

This morning I conducted a test - a test of the Mothers Checking on Children's Brain Waves Association.  This was only a test.  In the event of an actual real-life moment, we would need further intervention.

On the drive to school, with only two miles remaining, I explained to my dear ones what was about to happen.  (We were at a red-light.)  I wanted to make sure the conducting of the test lasted the entirety of the two miles.

Here is a transcript of my test introduction: If this is a scary proposition, take a deep breath.  I'm happy to report that my children made it safely to school and all is well.

  • Children, we will spend the next two miles discussing life, current events and school news.  
  • Each of you will actively participate in this conversation.
  • If, at any time, the conversation lags, I will direct discussion questions to each of you.
  • As my offspring, it is your job to make it the next two miles without uttering the word 'like.'
  • If you should err and use the word, you will recreate your sentence, refraining from the use of 'like.' 
  • This will be tough.
  • You can do it.
  • I have confidence in you.
  • Godspeed.
There was a nervous laugh, uneasy movements in their seats, as they wrapped their sweet little brains around the task at hand.

And then we began.  

Silence.  All conversation lapsed.  Quickly, I intervened.  

I directed a question at each of them - discussion questions where they had to think and could only answer using multiple words and phrases.  They answered.  

They began to talk, and they spoke v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y  and  d-e-l-i-b-e-r-a-t-e-l-y.  They woke up.  They took their time.  They concentrated.  They smiled.  They were attentively engaged in the moment.  

It was a struggle, but they persevered.  They would not go down without a fight.  

In that entire two mile trek, they held strong to the mission.  Only once did the word 'like' slip out.  The child who let it escape quickly noticed and began reconstructing the descriptive sentence with new word choices.  There was thinking involved.  It was beautiful to behold.  It was.  

It was a miracle.  If you have kids or have ever heard children talk or live in 2012, I think you can appreciate the astounding awe I felt in the moment.  My children talked.  I listened.  It lasted approximately four minutes.  Only once did the word 'like' enter the discussion.  I'll never forget it.  I won't.  

Why did I administer this exercise?  Because, like I like found like I was like curious if like my kids could like have even like a mini conversation without like saying like like every minute like.

What did I learn from this four minutes in the promised land?  Funny thing, I didn't glean what I thought I might.  I figured I would learn whether my children could actually speak without using the word.  I assumed I would sarcastically drive home the point that the Queen's English is being destroyed before our very eyes.  Those things did happen.  That's not what I'm taking away from this experiment, though, believe it or not.  

What I learned was something about being alert, awake, conscious.  I watched as I stripped my children  of a habitual crutch and I witnessed the intentionality of their every move.  I realized in that very moment that, as they believed I was proving a point that they use the silly word too much, they were actually teaching me something I won't forget.  Funny how that stuff happens.

They were smiling.  I was smiling.  We were having fun.  I was struck by how much things changed when they were forced to take a moment to really notice what was happening.  

Now I find myself wondering about all of the ways I 'auto pilot' through life.  

What am I missing?  What silly habits have I allowed to creep into my every move, every thought?  What would happen if I slowed down, became more deliberate, had to consider each thing that came from my mouth?  

Wow, like I can't even imagine!

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