Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rocks and Sticks

Our great grandson is visiting his grandparents. And we have been allowed to share him. Like all the children before (and I hope after) him, nothing competes in holding his long-term attention as much as rocks, sticks, and dirt--all picked up with stubby little fingers to play with, to throw, to sift, and to enjoy. I find great comfort in that.

Like many American children, he has some fantastic toys. They sing, they talk, they flash. Some toys are adorably cute, some beautiful, some softly cuddly, and some educationally inspired. He likes them and uses them and remembers them. I am sure he has learned a great deal from these presents from loved ones.

I admit to being delighted when his eye instantly caught sight of the little tractor on the bottom shelf of the coffee table in the family room. I had forgotten it was there. A long time ago, that tractor was one of two I bought for new grandsons over 14 years ago. However, after he rolled it around for a minute or two, he was ready for other excitement.

Yet playing with the little rocks and the dry dusty dirt at the softball field yesterday, he lingered much longer with nature’s toys. Hand and eye coordination were enhanced by this play just as millions of other youngsters have grown through this play. Vocabulary was increased as we talked about rocks, sticks, pick up, throw down, and dirty hands. He experienced the hardness of the rocks and the comparative softness of the dirt as he dug it out of the ground to play with.

It is fun to watch a 16-month-old explore the world and learn its secrets. All the delights that the earth offers from deer in his grandparents’ woods to ducks and geese on our lake to Chloe the dog are fascinating to him. When Chloe came up to him to be petted, those of us sitting a short distance a way saw his brain turn over. He realized that she was just the right size for him to straddle and ride. As he was contemplating this and making move to do so, fortunately he refrained and gave Chloe a loving hug instead.

Long ago when his mother was born, Katherine wrote on a family bulletin board at our house at that time: A new baby is God’s decision that the world should go on. When we took this one by to see his Great Aunt Katherine today, she was just as pleased with God’s decision as she had been about his mother.

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