Kids

I don’t think I could ever handle one of my own, but wow, spending a few hours with a little person blows my mind.

No doubt my four favorite kids are our nieces and nephews: Jessica, Grady, Kate, and Sam. They’re hilarious, insightful, and very inspiring, which completely makes up for the fact that they can be a bit messy at times.

If you are ever feeling like the world looks stale, spend about ten minutes with a kid—preferably one under ten years old. It’s all new to them.

Let me give you a few examples.

My mom and dad started the tradition of treating the Eldredge clan to a day at the Denver Stock Show every year. Kate and Sam’s first rodeo experience left them wide-eyed and speechless for most of the two-hour event. However, after the lights came up, we got a glimpse of what was going on in those little growing minds of theirs. Kate summed it up for us.

“All the boys fell off their horses, but all the girls stayed on theirs,” she said with a sly grin. “And the girls got to carry flags and wear sparkly costumes!”

My mom is a former barrel racer, so this was quite possibly her proudest grandma moment.

Then, there was the soccer game. My brother, Thad, coaches the twins’ (Kate and Sam) soccer team. He was slightly depressed when the team of four and five year olds wanted to be the Dolphins instead of a more menacing mascot, but he lived through that disappointment. The next episode almost threw him over the edge.

Sam was on fire, kicking the ball down the field in that haphazard way only a four year old can. He neared the opposing goal, which was guarded by another pint-sized Pelé.

“Kick it in, Sam!” Thad and Michelle cheered on their son from the sidelines.

Sam stopped abruptly and looked up at his father. “But Dad, it’s not available.”

Evidently, they had been learning about sharing earlier that week at their Montessori school. When Sam saw the other kid in front of the goal, he decided that toy was unavailable. Makes perfect sense.

Then, we have Jessie, who I’m sure one day will become either a famous actress or a politician. She has a real flare for the dramatic.

One afternoon, Jessie was precariously balancing on a stool trying to get something out of a tall cupboard in the kitchen. When she lost her balance and almost fell, she yelled out, “OH MY GOD!!!”

Eric’s sister, Sarah, rescued her daughter and then scolded her for swearing.

“But Mom,” Jessie explained, “I wasn’t swearing! When I felt myself falling, my whole life flashed before my eyes. I was calling out to God to save my young life!”

And finally, there is curly-headed Grady. He’s a tough kid out on the playground, but he has an extra-sweet heart on the inside. One day he was playing dodge ball with some older kids and got nailed with a poorly aimed (or I guess perfectly aimed) ball. But he got up, brushed himself off, and went through the rest of the school day without a complaint.

Right after dinner, though, Grady asked to be excused to go to bed.

“Already?” Sarah asked. “It’s only 6:30.”

“I’m tired from not crying all day.”

Doesn’t that just melt your heart?

Kids do say the darnedest things. There is no “been there, done that” attitude about them. I just love to see their sparkling little eyes, drawing in the world with wonder. So I admit it. Even though kids are messy, they really inspire me.

It’s time to take off our glasses, smudged with years of experience, and see the world fresh and new, just like kids do.

Show me a day when the world wasn’t new.

—Sister Barbara Hance

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