Friday, December 12, 2008

Growing Up

I walked my six year old grandson to school the other day.  It was cold morning in Phoenix so we invented ways to keep our hands warm as we walked.  The best way we found was to pull our hands up into our sweatshirt sleeves and make a fist.  Once we figured that out, Parker leaned into me and said, "Pop Pop, I'm almost as tall as you are" as his head bumped into my elbow.  We laughed and talked about what it is like to grow up.
Parker told me that one way he is growing up is that when he began school, he didn't know anyone.  He shared that he was a little scared on the first day of school.  Now he reports that he has lots of friends and how they came over for his birthday party and how they play together on the jungle gym in the school yard.  He also told me about many of the things he is learning in school and how that is a way he is growing up as well.  He said that school and new friends are a little scary, but necessary because he wants to grow up.
As I thought about that conversation, I began to realize that for six years old, Parker is very wise.  He didn't allow the fear of new things to stop him from embracing them.  He doesn't mind stretching himself because he has a thirst to grow.  Parker told me that he can't wait to turn seven and get taller and grow up more.  What six year old doesn't want to be seven and in first grade?  
With growth comes challenges, pain and hardships.  Parker is learning this in school and life and so far, he is choosing to embrace those challenges, pains and hardships because he wants to grow.  He doesn't want to stay in kindergarten.  That is way of life in a simpler form isn't it.  In my experience, it seems that as people become adults, their growth often becomes stunted.  Growth for adults comes in a variety of ways like maturity, knowledge, dealing with past wounds, becoming more responsible and so on.  To often in my experience, adults are not so excited to 'turn seven'.  Many are content to not grow, it just seems easier that way.  
I think we can learn some things from Parker's outlook on growth.  We should face it, embrace it and work through it.  We might even want to get excited about growing.  I know as well as you know that it is always difficult to grow (change), but just like you, I know that it is best when I do.
I'll bet that there is an area or two in your life that needs to enter a 'growth spurt'.  Maybe you have sensed God's nudging you to move out in a new direction or at a different (more difficult) level.  Why not follow Parker's example and face it and embrace it.  It will be good for your soul and those you rub shoulders with as well.  
As we turned the corner on the way to school, Parker wanted to race to the cross walk.  We took off running and Parker took the lead.  I almost caught him, but he won...again!  One day, he will actually beat me in a foot race and that will be a great day because it will show, once again, that growing up is something to be excited about.