Tuesday, October 15, 2013
"I Can't Know How"
Now, we try not to laugh at her mixed-up phrases - at least, not when she can hear us - but this one makes us smile.
One of her sisters asked her, "Don't you mean, 'I don't know how'?"
Her answer: "No." And then she said, slowly and deliberately, "I tan't know how."
This response is especially likely when asked to do something she would rather not learn: putting on her own church shoes, doing some task for Baby Brother, complete some household chore for the first time.
Now, lest you think Philip and I are overly permissive parents, let me assure you that we inform Miss Lili that yes, she certainly can know how and we will assist her in learning the task or in, ahem, being properly motivated for the task if necessary.
See, that's the thing. Maybe she doesn't know how to do something yet, but she can learn how. At her age she's soaking in information and forming new skills on a daily basis. Her excuses are just that: excuses.
I am, unfortunately, not so very different from my stubborn and determined to be ignorant three year old.
I see something that needs done. I see someone who needs help. I hear God whispering to me through his word some area of my life I must improve or some discipline I should be applying.
And I don't even look up. I stay where I am,doing what I am doing, and just as casually as Miss Lili I declare, "I can't know how."
Speak to a stranger at the laundromat? I can't know how.
Give a soft answer when I want to angrily retort? I can't know how.
Let go of my worry and trust God the way He ought to be trusted? I can't know how.
Work without recognition? Can't know how.
Forgive - again? Can't know how.
Set a cheerful example even when I'm weary? Can't know how.
Make plans when I'm over-stimulated already? Make a meal for someone else just because? Write a note of encouragement to someone I don't know well? Can't know how. Can't. Can't. Can't.
You see it, of course you do. I know it deep down. I can know how to do these - and many other - things. I can try. I can learn. I can - with God's help and guidance - step out of my comfort zones. I can stretch. I can change. I can grow.
Which means, "I can't know how," is really just another way of saying, "I won't."
And just the way Philip and I, as parents who love their child enough to insist on reasonable, regular growth, will cause Miss Lili to learn and apply new skills, well, God does the same with me and with any of us who He call His children.
I can know how. You can know how.