Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” – Matthew 19:14
Monday, with one more significant turn of the time machine, our grandson, David, went to preschool for the first time. “Bye, Mommy! I love you!” he said. Then he didn’t look back.
To say that David is excited is an understatement. He had his “minion” backpack, his minion lunchbox, his first-day-of-school clothes, and he was ready to go.
It’s interesting how the way we mark the passage of time changes. We note birthdays with zeros at the end – I had number 60 this year – and in the past we’ve measured via our children’s progress, then graduation from high school, passage through college, out into the world of work, and then marriage. But now it’s our grandchildren who help us keep time.
So I guess that David is due one of those “Grandaddy Letters” I’ve been penning off and on since we first learned he was coming into this world. Because if you’re going to school now, David, there are a few things we need to talk about….
I am so happy to see how wonderfully you are growing up! You know your letters, you’re learning to read, you can count, you’re a helper, you’re a big brother.
I notice how thoughtful you are, too, and how much you pay attention to other people’s feelings. You love to play, and run, and be with your family. You are such a special boy!
More than just about anything, I can see how much you love to learn. You have wondered about how things work since before you were even a year old, when you’d look at the tower of blocks you’d just built, crawl around every side checking it out, and say “hmmmm…?” Most toddlers would have knocked them down right away, but you were curious from Day One.
You have always liked puzzles, blocks, legos, different train-track configurations, and putting things together. You look, and you think, and then you get to work. Is your middle name maybe Ikea?
You’re going to enjoy school because the teachers like what they call problem-solving tasks. I know you’re going to put your thinking cap on, and you are going to shine. But there will be other problems too, ones the teacher isn’t always involved in, and I want you to be passionate about figuring those ones out too.
Fact is, David, school involves a little more of the real world than you’re used to at home. Out in the world sometimes people can be difficult, and there’s not always someone right there to hold your hand, or to tell you the next best thing to do, or to break the problem down into small, manageable pieces. But that’s okay, David, because you have some things going for you that are going to help you make the best of every situation you run into.
- First, you’re a natural figure-things-out-er. If you apply this principle to people as well as lessons, then you are going to be the number one learner in the school, and the best friend any of the other kids could hope for.
- I don’t know if you understand yet just know how much your family loves you, and how blessed you are to have a happy, solid, safe home base to come back to. Your mommy and daddy will always listen to you; they love each other, and they love you to the moon and back. Your grandaddy and grandmama love you so very much, and you can talk with us about absolutely anything. Anything at all.
- More than all this, you need to remember that God holds you in the palm of his hand, and loves you with the deepest, most amazing love of all. There is nothing that can get in the way of that kind of love. No matter what happens, God is with you and is right there by your side every day – at school and at home. Never forget that, and always thank God in your heart.
That’s enough to go on for now. I wish everyone knew and understood all these things, truths that are already part of your life.
You will do well. I know it – you already are.
With all the best love I can find – Your Grandaddy Derek
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.