Recently I attended a Wake for a friend who had been a number of years older than me.
During the service, I was touched as several of his grandsons rose to speak of his great influence upon their lives . . . and they each one identified specific things he had taught them. They each said those things were indelibly ingrained in their hearts and minds. As I listened I thought to myself, “What have I taught Ali and Abi?” In a moment of honesty I answered, “Other than a few video games, I haven’t taught them much.” I vowed to work on that.
Yesterday I took the girls to the pool at the Burnet YMCA. Soon after entering the water. A lifeguard called out to me and informed me that I had to stay close to the girls . . . in fact, I had to stay within an arm’s reach of them . . . and continue to do that every minute we were in the water beyond the rope! Ouch . . . Ali really didn’t like being informed of that pool rule . . . or the rule itself (nor do I as it prevented me from working out). In a minute, Ali raised her left arm across herself, hanging onto with her the bicep of her right arm which was hanging down in front of her body (something I have observed that she does when frustrated). I asked if she was okay. She replied, “That is a bad rule, it is boring and I just want to go back home!”
It occurred to me that this just might prove to be a teaching moment. I told her that it was actually a good rule and intended for child safety. I explained that she didn’t like the rule because she was actually a pretty good swimmer and didn’t like being treated like a little kid, but the life-guards didn’t know that about her. I also told her that there would be many times in life when people would make decisions about her without actually knowing the facts. I chuckled and said, “Sweetie, it is in those situations that we can turn the tide by showing them who we are and what we are made of!” She asked how we could do such a thing. I said, “Let’s do that right now” and motioned for the guard to come over and talk with us. When the young female guard came over I told her that Ali wanted to challenge the rule and said she would take and pass any swim test they cared to administer. She smiled and said, “Let me call the testing guard over” and she did that very thing. The young guy who would administer the swim test told Ali that she would have to swim the entire length of the lap-pool and then tread water for 45 seconds. Ali grinned like a Cheshire Cat and said, “Piece of cake,” and walked off with him. I looked on as she leaped into the lap-pool and swam the length . . . smooth as glass! She then pushed off the end and swam out 25-feet and treated water for the required time. She swam to the ladder, climbed out, and lifted her arms in victory . . . she and the guard exchanged high fives’ and walked to the guard station where he wrote her name in the swimmer’s book and put a cool new bracket on her wrist!
She came back and jumped into the deep end with Abi and me. I chuckled and said, “Sweet girl, when decisions are made about you that are incorrect, don’t get mad . . . just get busy and change the situation!” As we chuckled and celebrated her victory, I told her that is the 2nd book her name has now been entered into recently. She asked about the other book. I told her that when she accepted Jesus and made her profession of faith that the Lord wrote her name in His big book which He calls ‘The Lamb’s Book of Life’ . . . and I told her that is the ultimate victory in life . . . and it changes everything!
I think I am now on track with this grandpa thing . . . and perhaps doing that thing a grandpa is meant to do!