Robert Fulghum wrote a bestseller titled, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It is a brilliant book with chapter titles like “Share Everything”, “Don’t Hit People”, and “Clean Up Your Own Mess”. The world would be a better place if we all remembered the lessons we learned way back then.
I’ve been watching my grandkids lately and I don’t like what I see. Now that got your attention, didn’t it?
Saying something like that can get me in trouble with my children, but that’s nothing compared to the kind of hot water it can get me into with my wife. Let me explain what I mean before I find a blanket and pillow waiting for me on the sofa…
When I say that I don’t like what I see, I don’t mean them, I mean me. I was watching my 3-year-old grandson the other day while he was playing with toys and there was another 3-year-old there as well. The room had several stations to play at with plenty of toys and there were only 2 kids. I watched as they slowly gravitated toward the same play station. Then I would watch one of them begin to look out of the corner of his eye at the toy the other one was playing with. How can there be 20 toys in a room with just 2 kids and they both want to play with the same toy at the same time?
I could try to explain it to my grandson. I could tell him that what he is feeling is called envy and that envy is easy and wrong, and sharing is good but it’s hard. And if I wanted to be really honest I could tell him that 55 years from now envy will still be easy and wrong and sharing will still be good but hard.
Had I taken him aside and explained that to him he would have looked at me, listened politely and then turned around to see what his new friend had found to play with while his grandpa was wasting time saying something that made no sense. And I could tell him that 55 years from now it’s still hard to listen and obey, particularly when you don’t understand why you should obey. I would only tell him these things because I love him as much as I have ever loved anything.
I’m an adult. Sometimes it’s hard to see what is going on in my own heart. The easiest way to see my heart is to look at my grandkids.
God pulls me aside and reminds me from time to time that envy is easy, sharing is hard, and that listening to him and obeying is particularly hard when I don’t understand. But on those days, I remind myself that the only reason God takes the time to tell me these things is that he loves me as much as he has ever loved anything. And that makes listening not so hard and obeying make sense after all.