This story is about a little boy who had a younger sister. Do any of you have a younger brother or sister?
[Pastor, of course, knows perfectly well that some of these children have younger brothers or sisters. He had to suggest that elbowing little sister was not strictly necessary for the story.]
Well, when the little sister came along, he was terribly excited. She was a brand new addition to the family. She was smaller than he was, which was a new experience for him, and she was pretty adorable, after all. It was wonderful to have the new baby in the house.
Fairly soon, though, he wondered if she was going to be quite as wonderful as he’d hoped. She didn’t seem to do much, you see. In fact, all she seemed to do was eat, sleep, and cry. Sometimes it seemed that all she ever did was cry.
She’d cry when she was hungry. She’d cry when she wanted a snuggle. She’d cry when she was tired. And for heaven’s sake, she couldn’t even use the potty, and she’d cry when things were messy.
I mean, this was kind of hard to deal with, after all.
He was pretty observant, though, and he noticed something about all this crying. It worked. She’d cry, and she’d get fed. She’d cry, and somebody would pick her up. She’d cry, and she got put down to sleep. She’d cry, and somebody would take her off to get her cleaned up.
That was impressive. He didn’t get what he wanted as easily as all that.
So he decided he’d give her technique a try.
As it happened, he wanted a cookie. So he stood in the kitchen, and he started to cry. With any luck, he’d have a cookie before very long.
At the beginning, it looked like it was going to work. Mom came right away, and she asked him, “Why are you crying? What’s wrong? What do you want?”
His sister, however, never answered questions like these, no matter how many times she was asked. In fact, the adults usually answered them themselves: “Are you hungry? Oh, yes, you are!” without even giving his sister a moment to reply. So he didn’t answer, either.
He just kept crying. And the more his mother didn’t guess he wanted a cookie, the more frustrated his crying got.
I’m afraid this part of the story goes on for a while. Does anybody want to fill in with some crying?
The adults shook their heads, but one of the older brothers chimed in with, “Wah, wah, wah!”
Well, he finally stopped crying. By that time he was in his mother’s arms, snuggled on her lap, with his tears drying on her shoulder. He finally decided to answer the question she asked gently once again:
“What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”
“Well,” he sniffled, “I want a cookie.”
His mother was baffled.
“Why didn’t you ask for one? Why did you start crying about it?” she asked.
“Well, my sister just cries. She cries, and she gets what she wants.”
“Oh, son,” said he mother. “She gets what she wants because, being a baby, she doesn’t need very many things. She needs to be fed, and held, and cleaned, so we don’t have too many things to guess at before we find the right one.
“You want many more things than that.”
He had to admit that this was true. His sister never seemed to want a cookie, after all. It was rather nice of her, in fact, to leave them all for him.
“Also, your sister doesn’t know how to talk yet. She has to learn.”
This was news to her big brother. He thought she could talk just fine; she just never did.
“She’ll learn to ask for things. It will take some time, but she will. You did, after all.”
His mother beamed at him. “Yes, you did. And you do it very well. At least, until just now. And I think it works much better for you than just crying. So you might try asking once again.”
Asking. Oh, yes. What was he asking for?
“Can I have a cookie?”
And now, what do you think his mother said?
The young people let out an immediate and unanimous chorus of, “She said ‘No!'”
Oh, my. Don’t you folks like happy endings?
Well, I like happy endings. And since this story didn’t happen just before supper time, mother was able to look at her son and say…
Photo by Zingyyellow. Used by permission under Creative Commons license.