Elizabeth is a born conversationalist. Not very long after her birth she started talking. To the nurses, to the bassinet, to the little giraffes on her blanket (unfortunately the giraffes couldn’t answer back even if they were real). She loved it when anyone would respond to her chattering but it was apparent that she loved the sound of her own voice. Not much has changed in the 11 years since then.
When Elizabeth was a toddler she would talk herself to sleep. I used to listen near her door to hear her singing her favorite little songs and dialoging with herself about everything. More than once I slipped a cassette recorder under her bed and captured her little words and phrases to savor when her voice no longer fills this house.
It didn’t take long after Elizabeth’s first day of kindergarten for her teacher to discover how irrepressible her penchant for discussion was. Mrs. Crossland was very patient, though, as was Mrs. Dorval, Miss Sherwin, and Mrs. Poettker. Sunday School teachers were equally longsuffering and taught Elizabeth a few ways of keeping her thoughts quiet until it was appropriate to share them.
Along with being highly skilled as an orator, Elizabeth also became an expert listener. At least as much as the hum of our vehicle’s engine would allow or the 36” x 2” space under her bedroom door would permit. Soon she decided that any and every topic was perfectly suitable for conversations with school teachers, Sunday school teachers, extended family members, or friends. It didn’t take long, however, for us to realize that we really didn’t want Ms. L or Mrs. J to know what we thought of their teaching methods or classroom management strategies, especially as it was being conveyed by a 10 year-old. There’s bound to be some things left out or embellished in the translation.
So, being the good parents that we are, we decided to teach a little lesson to our daughter. It wasn’t anything terribly profound but I did thank God for giving me the initial idea of giving Elizabeth a discreet little card to carry with her. All I had written on it was what you see in the graphic: k.it.t.y. A very simple acronym but we talked to her about there being a time and a place to talk or share certain topics of conversation. Discussing bodily functions, for example, just isn’t well received over a dinner out with friends but is entirely expected in a doctor’s office. We wanted her to know that there is a time and a place for speaking and for keeping quiet. K.it.t.y. stands for Keep IT To Yourself. It wasn’t difficult to remember and it did reduce the number of times Elizabeth would blurt things out in class or among friends. And when she’s home with us we’re all ears!
There is someone that I have spent several months praying for and I could easily say a great many things about something she’s dealing with. You see, the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree, and the tree has roots as well. But I know that if the Holy Spirit isn't leading my speech then nothing I say will have any impact or benefit.
I think I’m going to borrow the k.it.t.y card for awhile.
“A time to keep silent and a time to speak.” Ecclesiastes 3:7