Recently, I was gifted the opportunity to stay with our grandchildren for a few hours while their mother went to a meeting. When I arrived, she walked me through the daily routine, what food to feed them, where the sippy cups, already prepared, were located and most importantly where the diapers were located, then she was off. For the first few hours everything went well. We had playtime, then lunch, then things began to unravel. Let me explain, like I said everything was going well until it wasn’t; our grandson is in the process of being potty trained so very suddenly he announced he had to go to the restroom and took off down the hall toward the master bath. I grabbed up our granddaughter in hot pursuit, sat her down in front of a mirror hoping this would occupy her for the few minutes needed to help him, when I heard the fasters on his diaper being pulled.
Once I got to him he had removed his diaper, emptied the contents into the toilet and was excitedly exclaiming, “I did it Papa, I did it!!” And he had done it. As he was swinging his diaper around in his excitement, I was able to get it from him to try to dispose of it and acquire a tissue to begin cleaning him, when our granddaughter appeared out of nowhere and was right in the middle of the action. So dirty diaper in one hand, bath cloth in the other I used my foot to push her out of harm’s way. However, she wasn’t having that, so she scooted around my foot right back into the middle of the action. It was then I realized things were getting out of control and I had to do something fast or this wasn’t going to end well.
So, I positioned her well away, placed my foot on her clothing so she couldn’t move into harms way, contorted my old body around to grab a bath cloth, wet it, trap our grandson with my other foot and begin cleaning him and the bath room. Well, there I stood, a half clothed 3-year-old under one foot, a screaming 1 year old trying to pry the other foot off her clothes so she could join the fun, a dirty diaper in one hand and a soiled bath cloth in the other when their mother appeared. Seeing the shocked look on her face, all I could think to say in the moment of chaos was, “I know this looks bad, but it’s not what it seems.” To my relief she began to laugh, picked up the little girl which freed me to finish the business at hand and things began to become orderly, once again. On my drive home, a couple of things came to mind as I pondered the mornings events; first, there is a reason we are gifted children early in life, second, I have an opportunity to improve because old dogs can still learn new tricks and finally I thank my lucky stars for the training I received as a youth playing the game Twister.
I am reminded as I ponder this event once again of Provers 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” We as parents and grandparents are called to lead our children. We do this by modeling, but not the model I just explained, a real role model. What we do has more impact on our children then a month of lectures. If our words don’t match our actions the words are just a waste of breath. Abraham Lincoln stated, “There is but one way to train up a child in the way he should go, and that is to travel it yourself.” Good advice for each of us as leaders in our home.
We as leaders in our homes must practice good management. Good management is the ability to discern the uniqueness of a child and teach him or her accordingly. This may mean we have to adapt our style, depending on the child’s temperament and wiring. Our grandson is very agile and quick. Our granddaughter isn’t walking yet, but there are indications she is going to be the same way, but different. Managing both their personalities will mean spending time with each one alone and together sharing, caring and loving them unconditionally. Listening with our eyes and hearts not just our ears, expressing our love and showing support with our children as we model Christ is the most important aspect of management as a leader/parent/grandparent.
We as leaders in our home must take time to create memories with our children. Why? Because memories are more important than things. Children are like sponges, they hear and see everything and retain it somewhere in the recesses of their memory. These memories of early experiences will be embraced later in their life. Make sure these are good, true and are lessons in hope, so they will be better equipped to face life’s challenges as they follow the straight and narrow path in their walk.
I encourage each of us to model, manage and make memories with our children as we share with them and teach them through our faith, hope, joy and unconditional love. Then when they are old they will not depart from it… Believe me it will make a difference and add value to them and others. Proverbs 22:6
Have a wonderful day,