The boys, in chukkas and collared shirts, bickered in the backseat.

If you can’t be kind, be quiet, I said.

We don’t really subscribe to a list of thou shalt nots, don’t really want our boys to be motivated by fear.  We try mostly, instead, to enforce a gentler code, to live in peace, to connect with nature, to love everyone, to find ways to make hearts sing, our own and others.  We try, mostly, to be kind.

We went to Sunday school together, the four of us, part of an intergenerational lesson.  While Tollie crawled around under the table and begged for more donuts, I built up a terrible sweat.  He put paper and crayons in his mouth, like an animal, and I bit my tongue but let him know with my eyes that he needed to make better choices.  He did, at one point, add to the group's conversation about All Saints Day.  When the minister asked whether pets like dogs and cats could be saints, or whether dead people could be saints, Tols hollered that maybe dinosaurs could be saints too.

At the end of the hour a new friend leaned over and said that his wife tends to cry a lot, especially at church, but they agree that it's fine, because if you can't cry at church, where can you cry?  He went on to say that he thought the same applied to Tolliver; if you can't act like a three year old at church, where can you be three?
He's doing great, the man said.  And you're doing great.

If you can't be kind, be quiet.
And if you have something nice to say, by all means, say it.  Please.


rht said...

I bet I know who your new, kind friend and his wife are -- and I have to say that I love a LOT of the people at Broad Street Presbyterian Church. Yep. Tollie's doing fine. Tucker's doing fine. After all, snakes and dinosaurs are important parts of creation!

Andy and Jenni said...

The other thing that happened today, Mom: Tollie noticed all the new art in the Narthex. He pointed at one image and said "Look at that beautiful wedding picture! Oh wait, it's two women who love each other! They got married! Boys can marry boys too!" Bet you can guess who was standing RIGHT in front of us and turned around to smile and note his sweet observation :)

brittanyharrold said...

This makes me so happy! I loved Tollie's perfect energy and lovely table mate. It was my highlight of the month that hour :)