A longtime friend visited us recently. She has never been married and never had children. She did, however, keep herself actively involved in the lives of children. Now as a grandmotherly figure, she talks candidly about her childhood goals and dreams, and how God graciously allowed her to realize them.
While visiting, she expressed an interest in writing about her journey from child to adult. This lady has a story worth hearing. Truthfully, we all do. Everyone gets hit with situations that challenge the foundations of our faith. And it sometimes takes years to overcome unwarranted guilt or shame.
That’s what makes the life messages we share with children so valuable for them. Our stories give us the power to help children face personal problems, such as self-image and self-esteem, before they grow into full-blown crises. The more transparent we allow ourselves to become about our own childhood experiences, the better we create opportunities to speak wisdom into the lives of children and to impact their futures in positive ways.
The beautiful thing is that it works with other people’s grandchildren as well as your own. You never know when they might need to hear your story. Be generous with your stories and the wisdom you have gained from living through difficulties. The best part is that you don’t even need to have grandchildren to do it.
You probably know plenty of children who could benefit from the positive Christian message of an adult who has been where they are now and allowed God to carry them through. They do not need to be your grandchildren.
Question: Why would any self-respecting, sensible, mature woman choose to go fishing with her family to celebrate her birthday instead of spending a day hanging out at a spa or tasting her way through multiple courses at a gourmet eatery? Here are five reasons.
Reason #1 – Because her family consists entirely of males, all of whom jump at the chance to fish – especially if it involves fishing off a pontoon on a beautiful day. Plus, they get really excited about your birthday when it involves something they really like to do.
Reason #2 – Because said males made the effort to pull together a gourmet picnic lunch to accompany said fishing trip and you didn’t have to lift a finger. You just have to sit and smile a lot.
Reason #3 – Because cruising around a lake on a pontoon for an entire afternoon on a beautiful day is something you enjoy, even if no fish make it onto the vessel.
Reason #4 – Because spending time with your family can be more fun than spending the day alone – even if it means no masseuse is involved.
Reason #5 – Because, hey why not? Maybe, just maybe, said woman likes to occasionally dangle a little bit of fishing line in the water.
The big lesson I learned about choosing how to celebrate special occasions is to tap into the things everyone in my family loves. It is a blessing to think this will undoubtedly become a fond memory for all of us, especially my grandson. One of the best moments was when my he said, “I want to do this for my birthday.” I could have guessed that one.
This summer my writing detoured in the direction of teen boys as my grandson grows ever nearer to the double-digits (age 10). The series of short stories I began in June seems to be blossoming into a novel about two teenage cousins. It’s been a fun journey so far with generally positive responses to initial readings.
One of my characters’ exploits involves calf roping on a dairy farm. All of my relevant past experiences were quickly tapped for this one before I launched into research. When my available resources were tapped, including conversations with my sister who once owned a non-dairy farm, I still had a few doubts about my story’s accuracy. I needed to know how the calf in my story would be likely to respond to the situation presented.
Question: where does a city girl find someone with expertise about Jersey calves?
Answer: the Minnesota State Fair Dairy Barn.
It didn’t take long to find a young lady who was managing her family’s livestock at the Fair. I introduced myself, explained what I was writing ,and asked if she would answer a few questions. My subject matter expert graciously confirmed all of my assumptions about the personality quirks of a Jersey calf, and she appeared to enjoy being consulted on the topic.
This encounter reinforced some valuable lessons for me and other grandparents:
We are never too old to learn something new.
Give credit to younger generations for the things they know.
A friendly inquiry is a handy tool for conducting essential research.
Many thanks to the young lady who shared her expertise about dairy farming, especially Jersey cow behavior.