I have been struggling with seeing my grandchildren entertained for long periods of the day with computer games and movies. OK, there wasn't TV around when I was growing up and we had a lot of space in our backyard so we could really get out and kick balls around or race bikes around the back lawn. The problem is that I wonder what is happening to the next generation brought up on a diet of games and little opportunity to react with people.
My personal desire is to get my grandchildren out enjoying things that they can do for themselves. Inspire some creativity and enjoy what God has created. A day at a kite festival yesterday proved refreshing for all.
At the same time, I am concerned that we can put too much pressure on young children to be what we want them to be. Back on 8 August, I talked about learning and the lessons learnt. As my heart yearns to see children with a greater desire for creative, active enjoyment than for computer or game console games, I wonder about the lessons that we need to learn as grandparents and parents.
Those around us don't necessarily understand what is the inner desires of our heart. They will often disappoint us and let us down. Do we close the door on them and discipline them every time this occurs or do we try and reach out in love seeking to help them understand our pain and to try and continue to build the relationship. How much easier life would be if we could walk away every time something upset us but turning our backs on problems doesn't solve the problems nor does it help others to develop into the types of persons that we believe they should be. Nor does it help us to be the type of person that we should be.
We have to learn to love despite the pain inflicted and the lack of response that we might receive. In the process, we need to grow and adapt so that we can better respond to others and can understand more of the pain and hurt that they might be feeling. Maybe it isn't so much what is wrong with them but what is wrong with us.
I write this blog knowing that I have a great list of tasks that could keep me from spending time with the grandchildren. This happened when my children were growing up. When my children were at the same age as and a little older than my grandchildren, I was working a full time job, involved in youth ministry, trying to organise a group to support the use of computers in Christian mission, and was the secretary for a church that had just lost its pastor. At anyone time, I was doing between the equivalent of one to three full time jobs. If my wife hadn't spent most of her time focused on the children, they would have been neglected and ignored. Looking back, I regret not having taken the time to enjoy their childhood and to be with them as they grew up. Having tasks to do wasn't an excuse.
I can see the same happening with today's children. Mums and dads have busy lives. Grandparents also have things to get on with. What happens to the children and their need to be loved and guided through the developmental years. They are left to nurseries and schools to teach them with interaction from busy parents in the evening and weekends.
As I reflect, my heart breaks and I cry out for compassion and strength to show a different side and to treat today's children as I would like them to become and not as I am.