26th July 2021

Five little speckled frogs

Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22: 6 (NIVUK)

I remember driving through the country lanes with Ruaridh (pronounced ‘roo-ray’), a little five-year-old boy, in the passenger seat, in summer warmth with windows down.

Ruaridh at this stage in life was often – and quickly – very angry and challenging to control. My wife Rachel and I applied education, exercise, and structure in the seasons of our involvement with him and his two-year-old sister Ailidh (‘ay-lay’). Rachel taught Ruaridh cooking as he stood on a chair at our cooker; I took him and Ailidh for long walks in those country lanes to look for chestnuts.

This day, driving in peaceful sunshine, out of nowhere I heard Ru’s little voice call out in the softly rushing country air:

Five little speckled frogs
sat on a speckled log
eating some most delicious bugs
Yum Yum!

At this stage in our relationship this was an astonishing thing! Hiding my surprise, I asked for more, and after an awful lot of patient to-ing and fro-ing Ru sang the next verse:

one jumped into the pool
where it was nice and cool
then there were four speckled frogs
Glug Glug!

We drove to the river and played there, and Ru sang the whole song which he told me he’d learnt with friends at school. Spoiler alert – the song ends with no speckled frogs!

Ru’s anger issues hadn’t disappeared. But in those moments something momentous had happened. In a troubled little boy’s heart, the urge to sing out was stronger than the anger and trauma stored in his short life… and singing won. Something new and good had started.

It’s a little miracle how often the Triune relationship reminds us of possibilities of goodness. It’s there in flowers springing from recent rock-hard ground; in songs that remind us of the emotions God gave us; in the gut-instinct that moves us to reach out to someone, only to find out they’re in trouble.

And the wonders of the Triune relationship are there in a good thing that gives us joy and urges us to sing out, even in troubled times. We all sang as children, and it’s a training to not forget. Remember to sing.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the good things. May you gently remind and prompt us to sing out about them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Study by Andrew Montgomery

About the writer:
Andrew Montgomery is a Deacon in the Edinburgh congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local congregation:
GCI Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local congregational contact:
Peter Mill
Email: edinburgh@gracecom.church

Word of Life contact: