‘Do you know the one thing I admire most about you?’, he asked. He had the expression of someone about to spill a succulent secret. ‘You’re very childlike. Don’t ever lose that’.
That was the one of the best compliment I ever got in recent times (Not like I’m ancient or anything). I would love to share why with you. It also has everything to do with the fact that I have the sassiest, most confident, and smartest 6 year old sister ever!
Here are a few lessons I have learned from children, and especially from my sister:
- Forgiveness– Whenever I’m home, I snap at my sister at least once a day. Sometimes it’s for things like spilling liquid and refusing to wipe it, other times, she just plain unnecessary like when she refuses to eat unless someone volunteers to feed her- as old as she is. Being the sassy miss that she is, she could sulk for a few hours, but that’s often the end of the trouble. Every interaction with me is new, and sometimes to my bewilderment, she firmly believes in giving me several second chances. ‘If Oneh did not feed me the last time, I can certainly try again.
- Hope, sometimes, even unreasonably. When I first got to school in America, my sister always asked me when I was coming back home. This could be because she really wanted a bicycle which my father had refused to get for her, because it’s really not safe riding a bicycle down our street. At the same time, she made several promises to ensure that there was a plate of jollof rice waiting for me, because she was sure I would venture home for dinner the next day. This always challenges me in my Christian faith. Hope and faith may seem unreasonable, but we do not rely on knowing the future, but in knowing the Holder of the future!
- Stay Active– Growing up with two older brothers (aged 16 and 15), my sister is quite a playful child. I remember when she was younger, she would request footballs to kick round the house, and she would stand on the coffee table and break dance, or do cart wheels, or pretend that the floor was a minefield and she had to jump from chair to chair. No matter how much I yell, or threaten not to take her out with me, my sister has to stay active. Now that she’s older, and wiser, and despite understanding the danger of playing outdoor games inside the living room, she retains her level of physical activity, although she has since relocated her shenanigans outside. This is especially apt for a self-love advocate like me!
- Challenge Yourself– There is a funny story I always remember when I am challenged about my resolve to create my dream woman. For months, my brothers and I had made fun of my sister as the only person in the house who could not read more than a few words (especially during morning devotion when we would take turns reading out verses). While we were mostly being mischevious, my sister, then either three of four years old, took the challenge gracefully. She practised with everything and anything- billboards, labels, and books. I can never forget the joy in my her voice when she triumphantly announced over the phone that she could finally read and proceeded to read me a passage from the Bible.
- Excitement– Every day is a beautiful day for my sister. After the initial hassle of waking her up, and morning devotion (side note- in my house, if anyone falls asleep during morning devotion, my mother makes everyone stand for the rest of the prayer). But once my sister is wide awake, the day is for the taking! Everyday is a chance for her to return to school, play with her best friend, Daniella, or learn some new tricks in Quantitative Reasoning, and Verbal Aptitude. When she returns home in the evening, she tells me tales of her day with the brightest eyes and most enthusiastic gesticulations ever.
- Imagination and Creativity– My sister taught me a song that goes ‘When I am afraid, I will trust in you, trust in you, I will trust in you. When I am afraid, I will trust in you, for you are my savior and my friend’. When I asked her where she learned this song, she told me that she had had a dream where Jesus visited her and taught her to sing the song and sing it to other people whenever someone was sad. Because I could not verify her information, I reluctantly believed her account. I would later learn that she learnt the song at Bible Study. Notwithstanding, her imagination is quite exceptional for her to fabricate such story and sell it to me so confidently that I believed her. Or perhaps I’m just really gullible, which may be true. This was the inspiration behind my ‘Father’ post- I challenged myself to bring the story of Abraham’s sacrifice home, and create a mental picture which will foster my understanding of the story!
Image from here