Have you ever been around a person who talks all the time and has trouble remembering silence?
Me too. Sometimes that person is me.
A few years ago a dear friend said, “Leslie, stop talking. Just listen. You never let me talk.” It was a blow to my soul. Some 30 years had passed, and she was the first friend to tell me. I wonder now, how many friends and family members are aware of this characteristic. “Oh, that Leslie, she talks a lot. That’s just who she is.”
I know my husband has been more than patient with this trait of mine for the past 10 years. I’m trying now to listen and ask questions and be silent when silence is needed.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t use the gifts I’ve been given to share and speak and tell a story.
I hope my daughter is listening.
My oldest daughter, Ella has always been a talker. At just days old, she would scream at all hours of the day, as if she didn’t want to be forgotten. 7 years later, she’s still being heard. You should hear her questions.
“Mom, why is that train moving so slowly?” “What are you doing? Why is the cat black? What are we having for dinner? How do these carrots grow? When are we getting ice cream? When will Daddy be home?”
I know it’s important for her to find balance in her questioning and quiet in her answers. But I also hope that she doesn’t allow her voice to be silenced. Because a silent voice that needs to be heard is a terrible gift to waste.
Maybe you can relate? Maybe you, too are a talker?
My talkative daughter is now in the first grade. First grade also happens to be the first time I got in trouble for – no surprise here – talking. Talking when I raised my hand and when I didn’t raise my hand, talking during story time and math time and science time; through it all, I was chatting. And now that my baby girl is the same age, I know her talkative self will be discovered and I worry others won’t be as kind as they were to me.
And so for my daughter – I pray.
I pray she will use her gift of speech to share stories of her family and friends.
I pray she uses her voice to spread love and beauty in a world that seems more broken by the day.
I pray she learns to speak with confidence and humility and eagerness.
I pray she speaks up for those who have troubles finding their voice, for those who are weak and afraid and for those who are bullied.
I pray she learns to be silent when needed and loud when necessary and never feels obligated to be anything but herself.
I pray others will be kind when they discover how much she loves to talk.
And I pray when they aren’t, that she will always know, her Mama will listen to her speak for hours and will never find her words to be too loud, or too long, or too much of anything but beautiful.
Are you a talker, too? Welcome to the club.