“Sit still” – do you remember hearing those words said to you as a child? How many times do we find ourselves repeating this to our own children?
Recently I sat in the reception room at my dentist’s office waiting for my turn, along with several children and their parents. I found it very entertaining to watch these children try their hardest to “sit still”.
There they sat in chairs too big for them, wiggling and twisting, swinging their legs, turning backwards, hands on the floor, then back up on their knees, straddling the arm of the chair – all this activity even as their parents whispered “sit still, please” in their ears.
I remember a sentence from a church bulletin that has resonated with me through the years. It read, “Please be patient with the young children present at our service as it is God who put the wiggle in little children”.
What a refreshing notion – that the wiggles in our children are normal and as they should be. It’s up to us to see that these wiggles get paid attention to – not in denying them but in celebrating them and appreciating the fact that our children are exuberant, energetic and healthy.
I am reminded of a picture book I like called Sit Still by Nancy Carlson. A young boy just could not sit still. His mother took him to the doctor and the doctor only confirmed that yes, it was true. He can’t sit still. So this wise mom decided if he couldn’t sit still, she would then find as many ways as possible to keep him busy and active in a positive way instead.
So that’s our mission. We already know our children like to bounce and run, touch and help, create and sing, swim and dance. Fill their day by allowing and treasuring the natural rhythm,movement, and initiative of children.
The more they are free to “shake, shake, shake their wiggles out”, the more likely they will also be able to “sit still” when sitting still is necessary.