With school season back in full bloom, there’s a shift down into serious living. One can hope that each student is blessed with wonderful, summer memories to carry through their promising lifetimes.
Bengali philosopher Rabindranath Tagore is quoted: “Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.”
That hopeful reminder helped stabilize our endurance last month as six grandchildren filled a vacation home in the White Mountains. Our stamina immediately turned to Jell-O. I was promptly reminded why young parents never, ever, get enough sleep; that chaos and children are synonymous.
The cabin turned into a day care center. The crunch, underfoot, motivated us to keep brooms and mops within reach. The once shiny windows became opaque. Every game in the house was on the floor. Sheets were used to fold around furniture in response to flailing feet and peanut butter hands. Every morning, and I mean early mornings, giggles interrupted our fitful dreams and we knew not to linger longer in the warmth of the sheets. Then, there were the food issues. Feed a group of children and you better provide multiple choice.
Thank heavens one of the mothers was with the darlings. But even then, there were not enough adults to keep up with each personality begging to be acknowledged: “She won’t let me; I want to sit in that chair; scream, whine, beg.” Slip and slide down the stairs, endless games, chipmunk watching and feeding, crawdad fishing and B-B gun target practice, are now echoes within a freshly cleaned cabin.
Once they all departed, leaving kisses and hugs, Papa and Grandma Linda debriefed. Papa had a few more breaks than I did, barricading himself in the den with a quart of ice cream. But even then, he was still shaken. As we sorted through the week, the gifts of sacrifices dawned. We recounted the many broken families in today’s culture and re-identified the rewards of service, the bonding agent that stabilizes loving families. Nothing less will make relationships last.
We discussed the value of ignoring each child’s irritating stages, instead converting them into steady progress, then memory.
Relationships are difficult, but paying the price for the love of loved ones is worth it, even if the receiver does not respond the same.
I’ve often wondered about the “Sun Cities” of the world and why seniors run away. It’s clear now. However, my husband and I intentionally choose to live in multi-generational communities, even though it forces us to stretch.
Perhaps you’ll agree. The most difficult part of the world of children are adults who still cling to childhood stages, carrying jealousy, taking offense, judgment and selfishness. Among grown-ups, such traits are tragic. They violate the world of children and inflict lifetime wounds.
As years pass, one wearies over such adults. Thus, real children are more tolerable; vacation chaos is nothing; murky windows and crunchy carpets, meaningless. Our unshakable focus must be to love and teach and guide enough to build a child’s confidence and discipline, move them through those pesky stages without too much damage.
But, when adults take priority, we fail children and soon a new batch of adult brats is created. And, folks you know what I mean. They run today’s world.
But, I still believe Tagore was right. God knows the odds. In spite of, or because of adults, a vast number of children will evolve to make Him proud. Perhaps grandparents will also receive some of the credit.
East Valley resident Linda Turley-Hansen (email@example.com) is a syndicated columnist and former Phoenix veteran TV anchor