Each of my 3 grandkids has taught me an important lesson this summer. Family insights have been a part of my study-renewal time, because of the margins that have been created by this gift. Here they are:
Lesson One: Be Curious and Engage the World -- My oldest grandchild, Jon Jeremiah, in Washington DC this past week, turned to a young Vietnamese man speaking on his phone and said "I don't understand you." A moment of mild panic for me, Gramps--wondering whether to allow, moderate, or avoid this encounter--became a gift. A gift of an amazing conversation about culture and the multiplicity of World languages. A gift of honest conversation between a young adult traveler and a 7 year old.
Thanks be to God for a stranger's grace and a 2nd grader's boldness. His curiosity and willingness to engage others is so important in this world.
Lesson Two: Trust, Play and Enjoy the Dirt -- My son's middle child Miah May easily dives into every day to find a bug, seek out a swing, climb a tree or a door or whatever is in front of her (There's another story here for another time). She does it with every ounce of emotion and personality that she has. She will freely yell out my name, "Gramps," and then throw herself in my direction, fully trusting that I will catch her. Trust, play, and a willingness to get dirty I learned from my four year old granddaughter.
Lesson Three: Be Patient, Content and Present -- Lillee is my two year old granddaughter and is not as easily read at this point. What I do know is that from her I always get a joyous greeting, a hug, and a great willingness to simply be present with me -- she sits and enjoys whatever we happen to be doing. I'm learning new things about patience, contentment, and being fully present in the moment, from Lillee Jane.
Thinking about my summer exploration of Making Disciples and Making a Difference, I notice that my grandkids' lessons point me back toward practices I've observed in every place I've visited and seen strong, healthy faith community. They embrace these three lessons:
- Be Curious and Engage the World
- Trust, Play and Enjoy the Dirt
- Be Patient, Content and Present
From that joyous, chaotic, curious faith grows new life.
Where do these lessons touch your life? What might you add?