I still have a lot of catching up to do. We moved back to the UK about three weeks ago, and we’ll probably be here for at least three years. In the run up to our departure from the US, we did lots of fun things that I still want to chronicle, and we haven’t really slowed down since arriving here. However, there are some things that are too precious to leave at the back of the queue.
We’ve been working with Elena and Roman on self control, and specifically on reverence during prayers. We don’t have unreasonable expectations, but we know that they’re capable of being quiet for half a minute once in a while and want to unlock that potential. To that end, we’re isolating the desired behavior by having a “practice prayer” before our real family prayer, when Jenny or I count to a random number between ten and twenty while we ask Elena and Roman to fold their arms, close their eyes, and keep quiet. We praise them effusively when they do well, but when they struggle we can usually have a calm discussion about what went wrong, because it was just practice.
Roman usually struggles with being quiet, but a few days ago it was as if a switch was flipped and he was silent for the duration. Elena immediately put forward a hypothesis about the reason for the sudden change. She pointed out that we’ve been playing a lot of hide and seek recently, suggested that Roman had learned to be quiet while hiding, and proposed that he had transferred this skill to reverence practice. I think she’s right; they have both noticeably improved in their ability to stay quiet during hide and seek. We’re still waiting to see this transfer fully to better behavior during church, but I think we’re on the right track. This is not the first time that Elena has built an observation into a clever inference; I think it’s fascinating to watch her start to piece real-life events together like puzzle pieces.