My daughter Rachel has always had a good sense of humor and sharp wit, even when she was very small. Around the age of 3 and a half, she had reached the point where she sometimes took a nap and sometimes didn’t. No matter what, though, she always wanted to discuss it. One day she looked up at my wife Catherine as nap time was approaching and said, “Look at me. Do I look tired to you? I not need a nap.” A little while after putting Rachel in the bed, Catherine re-entered her room to see if she was asleep. Rachel looked up at her with a bright smile and said, “Look, I happy. I not need a nap.”
Though Rachel’s arguments seemed persuasive – or at least cute – the problem was Catherine knew what Rachel was like when she didn’t get her nap. It wasn’t pretty. At the very least she needed some planned rest time or the remainder of the day would be an emotional roller coaster. Catherine had a perspective Rachel didn’t have. She had an objective view of the whole day and of how Rachel reacted when tired. Rachel was focused on the moment and not wanting to stop playing. The truth was some rest in the present would make the remainder of her day’s play more enjoyable. Rachel didn’t want to hear the truth.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even as adults, we are prone to get caught in the moment, unable to step back and see the bigger picture. The book of Proverbs in the Bible puts it this way, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” (Proverbs 12:15)
All of us need checks and balances. For example, the most difficult thing for a writer to do is edit his/her own work. It’s especially difficult to proofread the novel of our lives. If you don’t have at least a few trusted counselors in your life, seek some. Look for people who are mature and trustworthy, not peers who think just like you. Once you have them, be willing to listen to their guidance, especially when it’s something you don’t particularly want to hear. Sometimes you need someone to tell you to take a nap, even when you’re happy.
In His Grace,
Chaplain (Maj.) Wyne Hutchings
Family life chaplain