Yesterday was my oldest grandson’s twelfth birthday. Three or four days before, his dad asked if there was anything special he’d like to do that evening? He responded, “My birthday is on Wednesday, right?” Craig nodded his head “Yes” and William replied, “I want to go to the youth group at church.” He also expressed a desire for the family to go out for dinner after the youth group.
Hearing that, I remembered back to my childhood years. The core group of activities that my brothers and I were involved with pretty well centered on the youth group at church. We were fortunate to have some incredible youth leaders that invested time, interest and support for everyone in the group.
Of course, in addition to regular church services, we were also involved in Sunday school, Training Union and we followed that up with after church volleyball on Sunday nights. Those regularly scheduled activities extended throughout our high school years. Periodically, on a Sunday night during the volley ball time, I’d notice my dad driving by the church just to ensure we were where we were supposed to be.
I asked my mom once, “What’s the deal with dad? Was he a wild kid when he was young? He is always checking on us. Did he think we weren’t going to be there?” She smiled and said, “Part of being a parent is ensuring supervision and accountability. He just wanted to check to make sure”.
Of course, now days, it is easier for parents to know their children’s whereabouts. AT&T makes it convenient on the family plan for every family member to have a cell phone. All a parent has to do to know their child’s whereabouts is to activate the “find my phone” feature. Presto, through the use of satellite, you can know the exact location of the phone and consequently the location of your child.
Several years ago, I inadvertently left my phone in a grocery basket at the store. I hadn’t driven three blocks before I realized the error of my ways. I returned immediately to the store to retrieve my phone. You guessed it, “My phone was not to be seen.” Someone had picked it up and failed to return it to lost and found.
As soon as I got access to my computer, I activated the “find my phone” feature and didn’t find anything. The phone had been turned off. Hours later, the phone was turned back on and surprisingly the location was still the grocery store. That led me to believe an employee of the store had taken advantage of my lack of responsibility.
My memory is a little fuzzy, but I think there was also a feature where you could activate some kind of alarm on the phone. Whether I did that or not, I can’t remember. What I do remember, in short order the phone was turned off again and the whereabouts unknown.
Hours later, the phone was turned back on and the location was different. It was at an apartment complex in Southwest Austin. By then it was 10:00 p.m., but the location of the phone couldn’t have been clearer. It didn’t appear to be inside an apartment building. It looked as though it was in an open area.
I had the thought, they tossed the phone and I’ll be able to figure out where to find it. To say that it was a lost goose chase is an understatement. I walked around in the open spaces of an apartment complex during the dark of night for an extended period with a flashlight in hand looking for my phone. Like a needle in a haystack, it was not to be found. I went the next day and purchased a new phone.
At any rate, I’m pleased that all of my grandchildren are involved in a myriad of activities including church. Honestly, as a family, I don’t know how they get it all done. Their schedule is unbelievable. All three kids are involved in at least one sport continuously and game schedules are not always compatible.
The General has been in Cat Spring this week in order for her to catch the baseball games the boys have been playing. Jenna is now playing soccer. At any rate, it has been non-stop. The General had planned to come home today. She called last night: “I haven’t seen Jenna play soccer this week. I’ve been at the boys baseball games. Jenna is begging me to stay through Friday and so I can watch her play. The game is in Sealy. Do you mind?”
Do I mind? It was after my bedtime Tuesday night before they got home from the baseball games. I was exhausted with the thought. Like a kid herself, the General said: “I’d really like to stay to watch her play. That way I will have seen all of them play their games this week.”
Honestly, she’s got to be the world best grandmother. Where does she find the energy? Bleacher seats at baseball games are not known for their comfort. Add a few thousand mosquitos and it has the makings of a very long evening. The General takes it all in stride. She actually gets energy from being involved in their circle of activities.
They say that children who have at least five adults actively involved in their lives embrace independence and do better in adulthood than children who did not. I’m grateful that we live close enough that we can build memories with grandchildren.
Getting back to church, it is a priority for Craig, Becky and their family. That makes me feel good because I know they are equipping their children with the basics that will be a springboard of strength and support for life. I know too many parents who become strangers to church when their children become involved in sports. It hurts my heart when church becomes something other than a lifeline of support and influence for a child.
Sure their child has known their parents’ active participation in their growing up years and sports related activities, but something paramount is missing. When the center is something other than fostering a connection with one’s creator, something has gone awry. I don’t get it. Neither do the kids if you get my drift.
All My Best!