I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.– Jeremiah 29:11
There are a lot of ideas tugging at me this morning, begging for commentary or a story. But as I have to choose just one direction I’m going with this photograph from our daughter Naomi. Because if there is one thing the image says – loud and clear – it is, “There’s a story here, and I’m just getting started!”
Our youngest grandson, Geoffrey, just turned 10-months and he is (as are all grandchildren) the most beautiful boy. He is adored by everyone, including his brother David and his sister Beks.
Like all grandparents, we are watching his progress with love and deep interest. Because of my history in child development, I am especially aware of the markers that indicate how well a child is thriving.
I love the word “thrive” because it stands in sharp contrast to such limited ideas as “survive.” I believe those of us who are no longer children should pay more attention to the concept, as many adults get so caught up in surviving they – sadly – fail to thrive.
“I came into this world to empower people to move beyond mere survival,” Jesus said; “I came to invite them into a full and satisfying life; I came so that absolutely everyone could thrive!” – John 10:10b (author paraphrase)
I have worked with exceptional children, I have lived with and raised amazing children, I am grandparenting phenomenal children, and I have watched so many beautiful children thrive at church. This experience tells me clearly that one of the key markers of thriving, an indication of the kind of child development we all want to see, is a mixture of joy and curiosity. Joy in response to all the love children are raised in, and curiosity as their innate intelligence and creativity begins to engage with the environment they inhabit.
I have plans:
And here sits Geoffrey, so very pleased with himself for having climbed up the stairs. He may be sitting still, looking back at his mother for affirmation and to let her now what he has done… but take a look at his orientation! He is facing the next flight; he knows where he is going; he has plans.
Geoffrey may look only 10-months; but in a sense this is a picture of a 65-year-old, recently retired.
- “Look at where I have come!”
- “I’m going to take just a moment, and look at all I have achieved.”
- “Okay, that’s enough of that; let’s get on with it because there is another mountain to climb.”
Epilogue: I checked in with Naomi. And, sure enough, within a few moments Geoffrey was on up the stairs, round the corner, and into his brother David’s room sorting through the car collection.
That’s my boy!
“I have plans for you!” God says. “Plans for peace, not disaster! I am going to give you a future filled with hope!”