I’m going to be a really good grandparent one day. I’ve messed up and learned so much through the years of raising my own two children (now 17 and 12) that I’m bound to be a really good grandparent in the FAR distant future! Today at a lake, I saw a mother fiercely scold her two preschool age children for sitting down in the water. Equipped with floaties on their arms, these two cuties had been bobbing up and down in the shallow waters for the better part of an hour, and I had watched them as I sat in a foot of water on the sandy beach, as the water lapped my legs. As their bobbing came to a halt, they inched their way toward the beach, where I sat, digging crevices in the sand with my toes and shoveling the cool sand onto my legs, which were showing initial signs of burning pinkness. Erupting in a sea of giggles, they plopped their bottoms down near me, only to invite the shrill screams of their mother, who quickly pulled them up by their elbows, admonishing them to stand up and get OUT of that sand!
As I sat and watched the disappointment that came over their faces, a wave of sadness fell upon me as I reflected upon all the precious moments of my own children’s lives that I’ve wasted being angry over meaningless, stupid things. I most definitely have had my share of angry episodes involving my children and I’m certainly not proud of those episodes. If I could tell that young mother one thing, it would be this. Don’t waste the moments of childhood by being angry over stupid things, for those moments are precious few. IT’S JUST SAND! It will wash off! Let them play and run their toes through it and bury their legs in it and let it get all over them! Sit down there with them and let them bury YOU! Create those memories with them NOW, while they are young, for it is those memories that will carry you all through the ups and downs of adolescence.
My favorite book of the Bible is Ecclesiastes. I love King Solomon and his “tell it like it is” attitude. Perhaps one of the most quoted parts of the Bible is the third chapter in Ecclesiastes (even made into a song in the 60’s by the Byrds). King Solomon got it right when he tells us there is “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). He goes on to tell us in Ecclesiastes 3:10-12: “I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded that there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.” Now obviously there is a lot of responsibility that we have by “enjoying ourselves.” Solomon goes on to remind us that we will have to give an account for every word we speak, every action we make. But take it from someone who has wasted far too much time being angry with her family over very insignificant, stupid things. Childhood is definitely a time to laugh and a time to dance. Enjoy it and be content to wash the sand off!