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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Music (03/08/07)

TITLE: Quiet, Please!
By Patty Wysong


Melissa’s head was pounding as she made the circuit around the church building gathering children. In addition to her own two she was playing taxi driver for five others, giving her a total of seven between the ages of five and 12. The hallways were noisy with the sound of the ‘musical instruments’ the kids had made in crafts that morning. There were oatmeal canister drums, soda bottle maracas, paper plate tambourines, and rubber band harps all being played exuberantly, emphatically reminding her why she worked in the kitchen during Vacation Bible School and not with the kids themselves. Children were not her cup of tea. In fact, she didn’t even really like children.

Finally having all seven children they headed for the van, at least until they left the church building, at which point the kids scattered in seven different directions.

“Stop!” Melissa shouted. “Walk this way.” She made a wide sweeping arc that pointed toward her van and watched in amazement as the kids laughed and fell in line behind her with their arms out, pointing. Shrugging her shoulders and shaking her head she started off for the van. Behind her the kids shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads but followed.

Melissa suspiciously looked over her shoulder and almost tripped when she saw the kids look over their shoulders and giggle at each other. Stopping, she turned, propped a fist on her hip and asked, “What on earth are you doing?”

More giggles as the kids propped their hands on hips and innocently batted their eyes at her. Finally Meggie, the five-year-old couldn’t contain herself, “Mommy, you said to walk this way, so we were walking just like you said!” The older kids dissolved in laughter.

“Oh, I see!” Melissa said. “So, if I walk like this,” she turned around and walked like Frankenstein, “you’ll walk that way, too?” Looking over here shoulder she saw they were following her, so she flapped her arms like she was flying and, sure enough, they flapped too, amid much giggling and jiggling from their instruments. “Well,” Melissa thought, “I DID say it!”

At the van she counted the kids and checked their faces, making sure she had the correct ones; it would be awful to get home and find she had the wrong ones. By the time they pulled out of the parking lot there was a cacophony of musical instruments as they all tried to out-do the other. “This is why I only have two, Lord,” Melissa prayed. “Kids really do drive me crazy. Even working in the kitchen is too much, so please show me where I can serve You, without having to deal with children.”

Britney twisted around in the front passenger seat and called out, “Ok, guys, I’m Miss Sherry. Let’s sing ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It!’” Melissa hadn’t thought the noise could be any louder than it had been, but she was wrong. The volume increased when they began singing. “Sing it out, Gang!” Melissa smiled at Britney’s imitation of Miss Sherry, the song leader. “I can’t hear you!” Britney called out just as Miss Sherry did during the morning singing. The kids all belted out the song while getting more noise from their instruments than Melissa had thought possible, her head beating in time with the canister drums.

“Maybe they’ll quit after this song,” she though in desperation, wishing she’d taken the time to take some aspirin before getting the kids.

Rather than quitting Britney called out, “Again!” at the end of the song and they kept rolling.

In desperation Melissa held up her hand, trying to signal for quiet. “That’s not music! That’s noise!”

“That’s part of our verse today, Miss Melissa.” Jason, the seven-year-old called out. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” The kids all happily went into a jam session leaving Melissa to her thoughts.

“Ok, Lord. It may be a joyful noise, but it’s driving me crazy!” Melissa gripped the steering wheel and prayed for patience. “Lord, I need help here. You know I’m not one who loves children…”

“Quiet! I can’t handle any more!” Melissa commanded. All the children fell silent and looked at her in amazement, all but the five-year-old who was lost in her own little world.

“Jesus wuvs da wittle chill-dwen, all da chill-dwen of da wohrld...”

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.” Psalm 100:1 (KJV)

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This article has been read 946 times
Member Comments
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julie wood03/16/07
This story delighted me! I loved the descriptions all the way through. Could just see and hear those lively, mischievious children--as well as feel the main character's pounding head and frustration! My daughters sometimes have fun mimicking everything I do or say--so I know how annoying that can be.

I also enjoyed the specific descriptions of the children's creative homemade instruments--I could see and hear those, too!

Very moving ending--showing the contrasting side of children with the endearing five-year-old's innocent faith-filled song. Great job!
Jen Davis03/16/07
I could not have imagined that you would make me laugh at the end of this piece, but you did. I loved the ending to this story. The child's voice was absolutely delightful!
Julie Ruspoli03/16/07
What a delightful story. I felt as if I were sitting in the van with you. Of course, I was laughing the entire time and of no help at all! The lesson at the end was perfect "Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world", how sweet! This is going in my favorites.
Jacquelyn Horne03/17/07
I could see this so vividly. Loved the humor of these children. I DO LOVE children and my thoughts were "sock it to her!" Am I bad? :)

If the narator took the point of the five-year-old's solo, I think God was saying, "Maybe you don't love the children, but I do."

Good writing.
Jan Ackerson 03/19/07
Very effective portrayal of your narrator's exasperation! Good writing.
Joanney Uthe03/19/07
From the mouths of babes... I loved this story. Great job showing the mother's frustration and the kids' enthusiasm.
Leigh MacKelvey03/20/07
I have a headache! I could feel my head beating to the rhythm of the cannister drums too! This was very realistic and believable writing. I love childrne, but I think I'm of an age now where all that noise bothers me too!Good job, very "soundy"!
Joanne Sher 03/20/07
I was right there in the van with ya - maybe plugging my ears, maybe giving you raspberries (LOL) - great description!
Sharlyn Guthrie03/21/07
From the mouths of babes! Carpooling can be a real test of Christ-likeness! I enjoyed this.
Betty Castleberry03/21/07
The ending absolutely makes this piece. It's charming.
Thank you for sharing this.
Shari Armstrong 03/21/07
LOL Cute!
LaNaye Perkins03/21/07
I could relate so well to this woman. All the way through she sounded much like me. Then, the ending with the little one singing was perfect! Great job!
Cassie Memmer03/22/07
Cute story! I enjoyed it, the ending was great! Yes, He does love the chil-dwen! LOL! And a great reminder to love them like He does. Good job! :)
Myrna Noyes03/22/07
What a cute, excellently written story! You portrayed so perfectly Melissa's headache and the noise and confusion brought on by the exuberant children! Great job! :)
Leigh MacKelvey03/22/07
You go girl! Congratualtions on a great entry and win!
Marilyn Klunder03/28/07
Being a Director of Children's Ministry, I cringed when I read "children are not my cup of tea." I hear it too frequently, but I really enjoyed your story. You words painted a vivid, realistic picture and yes, it at times takes a child to jolt us back into the heavenly realms.

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3
Elizabeth Baize04/07/07
Oh, this was such a fun read, but you also brought home a great point! You wrote in such a way I could almost hear those rubber band harps!