I was pretty young when we lived on Indigo. We were there till I was 10 maybe. These were the days every dad on the block rolled out his mower on Saturdays and cut smooth the thick St. Augustine grass that grew well in the humid Houston, Texas area. Even with the perfect mow lines there is one thing that even the best mower could not, and still cannot do. A mower can’t cut directly against the edges of a building or wall. Before the invention of the Weed Eater cutting or pulling the grass along the edges usually fell to us older boys at the Greaney house.
While performing the chore one day I found something amazing. Behind the thick growth of grass and rogue mint. Up against the foundation of the house where the roots were turned away and tangled themselves together. Life, critters, interesting wild things.
So often now the excitement of the day for a child, the deep joy of the adventure ahead is lost in the noise of the electronics that consume them. Kids today, and grown-ups to be honest, subject ourselves to the electronic mind mud of the world before we are even given a chance of free thought and joy that is a new day.
For Christmas this year I want to suggest some ideas for the kids in your life. I am going to recommend toys for boys. Not that our beautiful girls cannot enjoy them but I am thinking boys today.
- The flashlight.This is by far the number one toy I suggest for every boy for any time as a gift. The older they are the cooler the flashlight.
- A shovel. Let them dig a hole. All the way to China. The grass in your yard will come back. It is the open spaces and soil of our kids minds that need to be cultivated today.
- A sleeping bag.They come in all sizes and types. Learn a bit about them before you buy. To start it does not need to be expensive. Just one that belongs to them.
- A backpack.All their outdoor gear should always end up in their backpack. Don’t get one with a super hero on it, get one made for the outdoors.
- A Metal Tonka.Not the plastic ones. The full, large size metal dump trucks, front end loader. Plop them down in a pile of dirt. But a bag of sand and dump it out in the yard.
- A screw driver, a hammer, a pair of plyers. Some wood and nails.
The number one gift that you can give them as they learn to use these Christmas presents however is time with you. Go for a walk at night with them and their flashlight. Give them a loose door knob to tighten the screws on. Have them check every door knob. Plant a tree in your yard. Build a blanket tent outside or on the porch and let them camp with their sleeping bag. Better yet, go camping with them. Go for a hike in the woods, have them carry sandwiches and water in their backpack. Stop and picnic outside. Create an adventure.
There in the dark places against the house on Indigo were crickets and earwigs, lizards and skinks. My favorite were the grass snakes. Long and smooth with tiny eyes. Pill bugs that curled when you picked them up. I would have dark rich dirt under my finger nails and grass stains on the knees of my denim jeans every day. It created hours and hours of time for just thinking. The forts in the woods and tree houses never had more than a battery operated flashlight. It was so good I can feel it today as I write this.
Time outdoors or in quiet contemplation of how a screw or hammer and nail works is so important for them. This time will offer space for them to contemplate the curiosity that God naturally gives them. A curiosity of something fascinating and magnificent. A gift we are losing today in an instant answer world.
This Christmas consider the big picture. Gods big picture. Gift your kids or grandkids with things that will put them in the middle of His creation. Things that will allow them to think. They may be bugging you for the newest phone or video gaming system and maybe they get it, but those things will be long gone and forgotten one day I assure you. Ah but not time spent in the adventure of curiosity. Pull them out of the electronic mind mud they don’t know is dangerously consuming our world. They will remember the adventure and Gods incredible creation for a long, long time. You know you still do. Merry Christmas all. God Bless.