I had a fun conversation yesterday at church with one hilarious and insightful 8 year old Haley Johnson. It qualified as both an “Overheard at Church” post, and also an acknowledgement that “kids know so much better and so much more than we do.”
Haley was being super silly, super affectionate, and super cuddly yesterday. I love cuddly children, especially when they want to cuddle with me. She kept playing with my hand and rubbing it all over her face. It was strange. At one point, she had my hand covering her face (a legit face-palm) and started licking me. Ew, gross. I pulled my hand away, Marie chastised us (I totally deserved it!), and Haley kept trying to get me to put my hand on her face.
So she says, loudly, “C’mon, put it on my face. I promise I won’t lick it.”
Haley, you’re a weirdo.
While Haley was being all cuddly and weird, I kept thinking that children know so much more and are so much more in tune with the spirit than adults. I love that about them. I love talking to my kiddos at work because they say some of the most wildly profound things. They get it, and I want it. I thought to myself, “I need to listen to these kids more. I need to pick their brains for more insight into the gospel.”
Sunday was also Fast and Testimony meeting at church. Marie excused herself about half way through to attend to a sleepy child, and I kicked back with her two oldest girls. Haley asked me, “Will you go up and share your testimony?”
I had a quick moment of panic: “Uh, Heavenly Father? This was not the insight I was hoping for… can we ease into it a little bit? A little less audience participation?”
But Haley persisted. “LadyMo, will you go up with me so I can share mine?” I freaked out. I looked to my right and there was a proud little girl who wanted to go up and share her testimony. I looked to my left and there was a quiet little girl who I couldn’t leave alone. “Haley, why don’t you go up and I’ll wait here with Annie?”
“I’ll share mine if you share yours.” Oh, classic 8 year old trickery.
I was stumbling. This girl was right. I had just thought about how amazing little kids are and how close they are to the spirit, and she was asking me to share my testimony. And I was balking.
“Ah, maybe when your mom comes back. I don’t want to leave Annie alone. Sound good?” I was stalling and the short fry knew it.
“LadyMo, do you even have a testimony?” She asked skeptical of my motivations.
“Of course, I do!” I assured her.
“Then get up there and share it!” She professed.
Haley for the win. She was right. The spirit was so using this child as an instrument to get me off my tookus and to share publicly the things I knew to be true. And I was glued to my seat.
“Okay, fine. We’ll go up when your mom comes back.” I silently begged that Marie would stay out in the foyer.
I totally failed at church this week.
So, I learned a few things. First, the simple fact that children know more than we think they know was drilled into my thick skull. I knew it, and I knew I knew it. But it clearly needed reinforcing. Second, when a child asks you to share your testimony, you share your testimony. Next month, Haley, I’ll totally get up there with you.
So much love,