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Monday, February 13, 2012

Counting Rainbow Sheep

“I’m thirsty!” she hollers.

“I need to go to the bathroom again!” he yells.

“NO bed!” the little one screams.

“Can you cover me up again?” he asks.

“Would you read just one more book, PU-LEEEAASE?” she begs.

“Can you leave the light on?” she requests.


And the ritual goes on like it does every night. I asked the kids to count sheep one evening to divert their attention from the norm. I challenged the older two to see how many sheep they could get over their fence before they fell asleep. A random miracle occurred. They liked the idea and were immediately quiet. The next morning, my son said his sheep were white and got thirty over. My daughter said hers were rainbow colored and didn’t remember how many made the jump. My guess is five or less. She was super duper tired, but it’s just hard to fall asleep while you’re flip-flopping around like a fish out of water, ya know?!

Just to get some shut-eye on a weekend or day off, some moms and dads might even play a good ole game of hide-n-seek with their kiddos. Well, not the typical hide-n-seek you may remember. This is the one where you say, “No, REALLY, go hide. I’ll come find an hour or so,” as you mumble under your breath. Hey - sometimes moms and dads are just desperate, you know? Countless new parents are sleep-walking out there in broad daylight every single day!

Who hasn’t wished they could just turn back the clock an hour or two to get a few more zzz’s? And, as drastic (and horribly inconvenient) as it may sound, you might have even secretly wished that your satellite or cable would go out for a few hours or that your phone would mysteriously not work for a day. Or, maybe that your internet would be down for just a bit so that you would have no choice but to…well…chill, without all the noise?

We all crave some R & R right about now as we taste the warm, salty breezes of summertime on our lips. Many of us are going on little getaways with the fam – setting aside some time to unwind, make memories and slow it down a notch. That’s the goal, anyway, right?

Matthew Kelly made an interesting point in his book, “The Rhythm of Life.” He said that we are “human beings,” not “human doings.” “Relationships don’t thrive under the pressures of our modern-day schedules. All of life’s important relationships thrive under the condition of carefree timelessness. Learn to waste some time with the people you love.” We have countless time-saving devices, but still no one has time? It’s seems a little crazy, really.

Kelly also touted the three great friends of silence, solitude and simplicity as being the keys to allowing our spirits to soar. A wonderful analogy of his is this:

Great musicians know the power of rest. In music, the rests are just as important as the notes. Great public speakers also know this. They know that their pauses are as powerful as their words. In life, it’s much the same. The rests are as important as the activity. The silence is just as important as the noise. The rests make our activity more effective, efficient and powerful and the silence makes all the noise more meaningful.

So, in between jaunts from here to there, work, family gatherings, summer camps and activities, let’s also sprinkle in some carefree timelessness with those we love. Devoting some time to the “classroom of silence,” as Kelly suggests, could probably be one of our best decisions, as well. It is in the silence that we sometimes learn the most.

As for me, tonight I’m counting rainbow sheep. I’m certain it will go a little something like this: “One sheep, two sheep, three sheep…SNORE!”

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