It was a question like any other. Just a question. It seemed simple…..”dad, remember the Chinese Checker game we bought, can you play that with me? You said you’d show me how.”
We were busy planning our projects for the day, hustling to gather supplies and discussing our hopes of how much we could get done. Three little voices were talking at once. Requests for food. Questions of what we were going to do for the day and wondering if they could help us paint.
As the voices and questions melded together, I didn’t notice Magoo’s question. Dad heard it though, and gave a quick answer. The kind of answer I would have given, “Yeah, maybe. We have a lot to do today. We’ll see how it goes and if we have time…..”
It was a long day of errands and painting. As I began dinner preparations I heard Columbo attempting to negotiate with dad for some computer time. Instead, dad called for Magoo to go get the new game. He excitedly emerged, new game in hand, and said “Wow, dad, you kept your word!”
I smiled to myself, over my browning hamburger, at how he chose his words.
The littles were delighted to learn a new game. Mostly, they were excited to be playing the new game with dad.
Magoo’s words stuck with me. I considered how many times I’ve given my children a flippant answer to their bombarding questions.
Above all my brothers, do not swear – not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned. James 5:12
So many times I’ve told the littles to “just wait,” or “maybe later….” I have begun to understand that “later” is concrete to them. As concrete as dad saying “Yeah, maybe…” gave Magoo the understanding and hope that dad would show him how to play a new game.
Throughout my day, I need to be deliberate about my responses. My “Yes” must be a yes, and my “No” must be a no. There is no “maybe” in yes or no.
At the end of the day, when I want to relax with a good book or veg in front of the TV, three littles are still watching me. They are watching the example that I choose to set. I pray they will be able to say, “Wow, mom, you kept your word!”