When traveling for 7 days with my daughter and her family recently, I found myself in the very back of a mini-van with my grand-daughter often in the car seat beside me. These were wonderful times with the energetic and kind-hearted little name-sake of mine. At 5, she has a very engaging personality and the ability to bring some great truths to me when I was paying attention.
I value each of my grands and love spending time with all of them. This was an opportunity with lots of road time together to learn these things from her.
Sing all the time…unless it’s distracting to the driver! Laugh hilariously with others and then ask what was funny. Forgive quickly and easily. Ask good questions because you have curiosity and want to learn. Be in awe of the moments and embrace new things. Have a happy heart because you choose to. Be thankful. Give hugs randomly. Collect rocks everywhere for memories. Care less about dirt and more about others. Hold someone’s hand just because you love being together. Be excited for the day, even when you don’t know where you’re going. Allow others to explain when they had to do something that brought pain to you but was necessary for your good. Worship whenever and wherever.
This is the note she wrote for me as we began the 4 hour journey back to the airport. I had put some crafty things to do in a 3-ring envelope to keep her busy while traveling. Before she began to play with any of the things, she wrote me a thank you. No one prompted her. A thankful heart is powerful because it changes the atmosphere around you and attracts others to you.
One of the things we encountered in the forested landscape was a small and bloodthirsty arachnid known as a tick. They seemed to love her and several had attached unmercifully to her little body. Somehow, I was the one doing the dirty work of removing them. Blessedly, I had brought along a tweezers. Our last night in the boonies, we found 2 on her upper leg in a sensitive area. They were so tiny that I missed on the first try, drawing blood with my tweezers. The sight of red liquid trickling, brought blood-curdling screams which I’m sure awakened everyone in the building. Once I’d plucked them both out and she got her bath and was calmed, we sat down and I answered her questions as best I could about those nasty intruders. I’m thankful she didn’t ask the question of why God would create them because I wonder that myself. She wasn’t upset with me, but needed to know why I had hurt her. Opening yourself up to understanding instead of offense is powerful.
When I couldn’t find my phone and was beyond distraught, she made me laugh just by saying something that was funny from her perspective. She was the first to find me and tell me when it was found and was so excited for me.
I watched and my heart hurt as she learned some hard things. She picked up a luscious looking cup of fruit at the gas station and wouldn’t let anyone help her with it until it dropped and spilled all over the floor. Recognizing we need the help of others is powerful.
One of our first nights was spent in a very old house in the woods. As she ran up the narrow, wooden stairs and found the ‘Mary Poppins’ room and the one with Peter Rabbit wallpaper, she was filled with awe and wonder. The adults not so much. The creaky stairs, lack of air conditioning and only one bathroom on the main floor, filled us with a different kind of awe and wonder!
After a particularly long and tiring day, I could tell her frustration level was as high as mine. We were riding together in that back seat again. I got my music out and we sang some kids’ songs for a while. Then I picked a worship song she knew. My eyes filled with tears as I watched her put both little hands in her lap, palms turned upward in worship. I remembered one of my personal antidotes to life – when you don’t know what to do, worship. Always worship. Jesus is worthy of worship, no matter what. Putting your focus on Him instead of your frustration is powerful.
I recognize that she is shaped a lot by respectful and conscientious parents. I’m truly grateful for their parenting skills. It also reminds me that I have a Father who is wonderful to me and delights when I’m thankful. My trust in Him positions me to take His hand as He reaches out for mine, ask Him questions when I’m hurt, and laugh with great joy whether I fully understand or not.
I want to live with the awe and wonder of seeing through the eyes of a child and be powerful by living with kindness and a heart of thankfulness for the little things. Thank you, ‘litl’ grand!
Copyright © 2016 Nadine Patton.
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