It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. ~Frederick Douglass
With New Year’s resolutions set into motion, I hope everyone makes it a point to be more loving to their fellow neighbor or family member, especially children! Little gestures truly do matter!
It’s funny, everyone now-a-days, well maybe not EVERYONE that would be a grossly generalized statement, but many feel the need to spend money on their children. Why? To show love I guess. Sometimes I’ve found myself falling into that trap, but then I step back and realize Kyle is happy even just picking rocks (yes no joke, he’s like his dad whereas they will search for cool looking rocks to collect) as he would be participating in a shopping spree. Kyle is truly happiest when someone is doing something with him, giving him attention, showing him love, and learning something new. Even if it’s cleaning. Now, if it’s perceived as exciting through his own mind, even better!
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with spending money on a child, because my family has cornered the market with that action over the years. But I also believe it’s the little things, sometimes the smallest gestures that mean the most to a youngster. Those minor actions, that don’t take that much energy, and sometimes acquire no cost, are remembered and cherished above all.
I do try to live by this rule. That’s why I take Kyle for walks in the woods, (one reason, second for exercise and third to get him off of those video games) not only do I try and get him to appreciate God’s artwork, but I try to spend those extra few minutes with him, without distraction. (Well once he’s stopped complaining) It’s true, sometimes playing a game of Chess or War means the world to that kid.
Mentioning it a time or two, when Kyle was a toddler of about two or three years of age, he loved sitting with me practicing his addition and subtraction flash cards. Loved it! Not only did he like to test his knowledge and get correct answers, but he also liked the little bit of attention and positive reinforcement. Not much has changed since those days, and I’m happy for that! So now, that makes me wonder how different some kids would be if they only had that little extra? Or if they were held with love?
Before Kyle could speak, he would show us what he needed. Sometimes, he simply wanted to be held, being so content sharing hugs and being in human interaction. Seriously, no joke! By the time I’d pick him up on Friday, that’s all he craved. By Sunday, he was more independent, not needing as much direct affection, but the need for attention never lessened! How many other kids are in that same boat? I bet the true numbers are astounding.
Without dwelling on the negative, I want to share a story, almost an allegory, about a couple of great people. When this tale was being relived to me, I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement for the child and I felt the sheer love for the toddler by the couple. This is one of those unspoken stories that mean the world to all parties involved, even a bystander like myself.
Forgive me for any inaccuracies, for this story was told to me this past fall, not out of bragging but out of pure love and wanting to share the experience. A good friend of mine, let’s call her Aunt Hot Dogs was spending time with her nephew, Landon (actual name, which in English means “long hill” – this is relevant). Good old Lando, also known as Peanut (which is funny because that’s what my dad used to call me) was three years old. So far, in his short, yet very important life, he has shown an affinity for parking garages. Yes! He is infatuated with the ramps on parking garages. You have to admit, that makes him even more of a cutie! Seriously, a precious little munchkin and to have that as an interest just melts your heart.
Anyway, Aunt Hot Dogs and Uncle Mike live near a hospital. Naturally, near a parking garage, Landon’s golden kingdom. One day, as a treat Aunt Hot Dogs decided to push him in his stroller up the ramp of the parking garage. Can you imagine? It was like a kid going to Disney World! His eyes probably were bulging out of his head with excitement over seeing his dream come true.
Without having to say it, but I will, the kid was thrilled! Then, to top it off, to really add to the moment and make it so much more special, Aunt Hot Dogs and Lando peered out over the railing. In the distance they could see Aunt Hot Dog’s and Uncle Mike’s homestead. With the steady arm of Aunt Hot Dogs, she pointed out her house in the distance, and who was sitting on the front porch? Yep, Uncle Mike! To add to this thrill ride and to participate in the little man’s moment, Uncle Mike waved to the two parking garage attendants. Those little gestures helped to make this event even more special and memorable! What a fun time!
When me and Aunt Hot Dogs went running that very afternoon, she couldn’t wait to tell me about her feature story. She was so excited about Landon’s perfect day and being a part of it, she was beaming from ear to ear and laughing. Let’s face it, it is kind of funny for a kid to be entertained by walking through a parking garage. The point was, everyone was elated! That little Peanut pulls on her heart strings, but I can certainly see why. He is a gem! I was excited about the activity, it even made my day! Those small moments, the unplanned ones, the basic simplicity of life is just plain awesome!
Granted, Landon probably will not remember the incidence, at least not in long-term, but the feeling associated with his Aunt Hot Dogs and Uncle Mike will always be there and strengthen with each activity. It just took a few minutes to mean the world to this little three year old, and to shape that child into an even better young man.
I wish I could do that with Kyle, but alas those days are gone. Parking garages don’t mean nearly the same to Kyle as they do for Landon, I don’t think they ever did. Plus, I hate to say it, I get claustrophobic and I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that. So major cudos to Aunt Hot Dogs and Uncle Mike! Now, if we were on go-carts, maybe! Nope, I’ll leave the parking garage dream to Landon!
Let Aunt Hot Dogs and Uncle Mike be the example of what family and bringing love is all about!