I’ve come to the conclusion that someone, somewhere, at some time, told me I needed to be worried about things. I’ve always told people I’m a worrier. People always say that about me. Oh, that Heather, she’s a worrier. I apparently come from a long line of worriers. I just accepted that’s who I was and it’s what I did. I’m a really good worrier. I’m also not proud of that, at all. In fact, it’s something I want to get un-good at. I want to be uncertified. I want out of the club. But how?
I have two grandchildren. My granddaughter is 4, turning 5 soon. Kindergarten is on her horizon. She is smart, outgoing, inquisitive, shy, and about as bubbly and shiny as one kid could ever be. My grandson has just turned 3 and he is a bulldozer of a boy. He wants to know how everything works, what happens if you take it apart, how hard can you hit it or jump on it before it breaks, and who will get in on the action with him. He shares his sister’s brilliant and happy mind. They are amazing children. I have seen them be afraid of a temporary, now, situation. Those reactions are completely understandable and they look to the people around them to calm, soothe, and fix. However, it wasn’t until recently, that I noticed that they don’t have future worries. They live in the moment. They are happy or sad or mad or scared or frustrated by what is happening in their lives right now. I do believe this is where we’ve gone wrong, fellow grown-ups.
For Christmas, my grandchildren received worry dolls. They are stuffed monster-looking things that have zippers on their mouths. The printed directions that came with them told the kids to write down what they were worried about and put them in the monster’s mouth. The monster would “eat” their worries and there’d be nothing left to worry about. As an adult, I thought this was a cute little thing that may help ease any fears. But, as my granddaughter pondered this monster, I could see that this was a turning point.
She wanted to know what she was supposed to be worried about. She wanted to know what kinds of things people wrote down. I started to tell her some things I worried about and then shut my mouth. Why? Why would I put my worries on this child? Why should we be using this stuffed monster toy to tell her she’s got to find something to worry about? Her brother was on to bigger and better things and already devising a scheme to disassemble said monster. He was safe. But my granddaughter was now afraid of this toy. She was starting to worry about not having something to worry about. She was downright scared. Her aunts and I took the toy quietly away and stashed it on top of my refrigerator. We then spent the rest of the day trying to help her forget that she should be worried. Mission accomplished. By bedtime, she forgot that she should be worried and went right back to being her amazing self.
That cute little monster gathered dust on top of my refrigerator until this past weekend when I was getting around to cleaning up there. Don’t judge! When I found him, I decided to send him along to the trash so that he didn’t disturb any other children but I was left to wonder, when did someone first tell me I needed to worry about something? I know it’s not as simple as all that and that my granddaughter will grow into some worries as she grows up but for now, let’s just breathe and let it go.
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Phillippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.