March 15, 2009

On the Prospect of Being a Grandpa

Shh…this is just between you and me, okay? I have a secret. You see, it appears that I’ll become a grandfather in June. Consider yourself informed. Now, mum’s the word.

At first, the news wasn’t easy for me to accept. It was another reminder that I was heading inexorably toward creaky-limbed old-fart status. What was to come next? Adult diapers and soft food didn’t seem too far behind it. Then something remarkable happened: I saw that little girl on TV. You know the one—the precocious child who demonstrates how to email a photo of her pet fish and ends the commercial by saying, “I’m a PC and I’m four and a half.” Suddenly, I wanted one exactly like her.

My change of heart is due, in part, because my daughter-in-law, Piper, is a beautiful young woman from China, whose childhood pictures remind me of that PC girl. But there’s more to it than that. During the twenty seconds, or so, while the commercial played, I was reminded again of the reasons we cherish children and how much we can learn from them.

Here are a few ways they are infinitely superior to us old coots.

Children are refreshingly honest. Even when they stray, they don’t make excuses. Listen to a child ask for sweets and what do you hear? They don’t say, “Nine out of ten dentists claim this is good for your teeth.” It takes them a while before they can justify, cajole and haggle like an adult. All they say is, “I want it.”

Children believe in magic. They jump from stumps and fence posts, run like the wind and act like masters of the universe. And because they are unburdened by adult fears, they are free to be motivated by love and the best of all intentions.

Children invest in dreams. I'm not speaking of our day-time musings or even our night-time fantasies, but rather the sense for who we can become. This sense is important, because the alternatives to proper dreams are horrific. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine anything as frightening as a human being with evil intent, unless it’s the mass of humanity with no intent at all. And while most adults have spent their dreams, children continue to invest in them. In the end, it’s what will save us all.

Children are insatiably curious. Despite their natural tendency to believe everything we say, children still ask “Why?” It’s the best of words. I’m sure a youngster invented it and it’s the driving force behind a child’s incredible growth.

Children are fair to a fault. Take the youngest child out for an ice cream cone and he or she will insist that you take more home for the siblings. They are our fairness monitors and they fulfill their roles to perfection.

On second thought, tell the world my secret. I’m starting to feel pretty darn good about the prospect of being a grandpa.

No comments: