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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)

TITLE: Portrait of a Child's Pain
By Lynn Radford


Grown-ups never want to listen. Mostly, they are too busy doing other things.

“Shhh. Mommy’s talking on the phone.”

“Shhh. Daddy’s reading his e-mail.”

“Shhh. You have to be quiet in class.”

I tried to tell Mom that my little brother was eating crayons, but she was on the phone. I tried to tell my dad that our dog chased after a rabbit, but he was on the computer. I tried to tell my teacher I had to go pee, but….

When Mom found out about Jimmy and the crayons, she was real mad. She said, “Why didn’t you tell me, Michael?” I could tell that she was disappointed in me. I kept quiet while she cleaned up the mess.

Dad yelled when he found out our dog, Grady, had run off. He never knew that I’d been trying to tell him when he told me, “Shhh.” I quietly did my homework while he called and called for Grady.

When I couldn’t hold it any longer, I felt the warm pee dribbling down my leg. I said nothing, but the other kids yelled out, “Michael peed his pants!” I got sent to the nurse who asked me what happened. “You have to be quiet in class,” I repeated.

A week later, I met with Miss Jane. I had to talk with her twice a week for the rest of the school year. She said it was okay if I didn’t want to talk, I could draw pictures instead.

I drew a picture of my brother eating crayons while Mom was on the phone. I drew a picture of Dad at the computer while Grady chased the rabbit outside the window. I drew a picture of me at my desk with a yellow puddle underneath and kids pointing at me. I drew other pictures, too. Miss Jane always asked if I wanted to talk about my pictures. I never did. I’d once heard a grown-up say, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” I guessed not.

Grandma Sophie was a good listener, until she couldn’t hear very well anymore. I talked to her a lot. She taught me about Jesus and how much He loved me. She said that even when it seemed that no one else was on my side, Jesus always was. She said Jesus would always listen to me, no matter what! She said that was because He loves all of His children, all of the time.

As things got worse for me, I spoke only when spoken to, or in my room with the door closed. I overheard my parents whispering one evening after supper. They thought I was too old for imaginary friends. I didn’t try to explain that my imaginary friend was Jesus; I began whispering instead.

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This article has been read 336 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sarah Heywood02/25/10
Ouch! This one hit a little close to home. How many times have I shooed off one my own children when they have attempted to interrupt me during my computer time?! This was sad. But you wrote it well.
Judy Wood02/26/10
Parents do get so busy. I'm sure I was guilty of the same thing with my children. Yes, it's great to teach that Jesus is a friend who's always listening.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/26/10
I thought this entry hit the "Topic" to a "T". A perfect Bullseye! It reminded me of being a child at the beginning of WWII, and how, for days on end, my parents would gather around the radio listening to WWII news; and I kept asking "What's Pearl Harbor, Daddy?"...."What's Pearl Harbor, Momma?"...and all I got was "Shhh...Child, we're listening to the news!" Nicely done; Brilliant, in my estimation! Kudos!
stanley Bednarz02/27/10
I liked this. I thought it had the perfect tone and the message rocked. Keep up the good work.Your no cellar dweller.

May God bless your faith.
Lisha Hunnicutt02/28/10
Great entry with a perfect tie-in to the prompt. It does make me stop and think about my own children - both at home and my 3rd graders at school.
c clemons03/02/10
You did a good job with this one.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/04/10
Wow what a powerful message and a very well deserved win. I held onto every word. Again WOW!
K.D. Manes03/04/10
Creative and convicting! Thanks for sharing a great message and well deserved win!
Lynn Radford03/04/10
A BIG Thank You to all of you for your support and kind words of compliment! I am glad to know my words have found a home here at Faithwriters.
Congratulations to all of my fellow writers, far and wide, who continue to push their comfort zones by trying new topics and stretching themselves as writers! Sincerely, LR
Ruth Stromquist03/04/10
VERY TOUCHING and realistic. Excellent!
Steven Kellen03/05/10
Ouch! A parent's worst nightmare, in many ways.

nicely written