What’s Gotten Into You?

Kristin and her three boys have spent a great deal of time with Janet and me in the last month or so and we have really enjoyed their company. Each of the boys have had a special project to work on. For starters, Connor and Carter had cars in the Pinewood Derby for Cub Scouts; and of course, the youngest, Cooper, also wanted to participate. However, he is still under the minimum age for Scouts so he entered the sibling competition.

We have been to games to watch Carter play basketball each week-end, and have also watched Connor’s games. Carter, in concert with the other boys, made Valentine’s Day cards for Kristin earlier this week, and they have had dinner over here a number of times.

In fact, I have also started working with Connor on the Erector set we bought him for Christmas and we are having a great time building at airplane together. When I was a young boy, about Connor’s age, the Erector set I received from my parents became my favorite toy of all time. Connor is ending up the same way. He used to be into Legos, but the problem is that once you build whatever it is you purchased, there isn’t too much else to do. With the Erector set, you can always assemble another dream. Connor has great hand-eye coordination, is highly creative and really enjoys the challenge of building things. It brings back so many memories.

Now the theme in all this is that Cooper, the youngest boy, at age 6, can’t do all the things his older brothers do. Sometimes it is a question of physical development while at other times it is a case of age, such as Cub Scouts or admission to certain things. I am sure that you realize that sometimes this can lead to acting out; demonstrating behaviors that leave no doubt that he wants to be involved in all the activities of his older brothers. And let’s just say that Cooper is no shrinking violet. He lets you know if he is dissatisfied with something.

So I have instituted several ways of dealing with all the boys when things get a little out of hand. Because they all know that Grandpa doesn’t tolerate too much horseplay before I reign things in a bit. Any disobedience or disrespect for their mother, or one another, are not things that I deal with very well. One of the ways that we have addressed behavior is by getting the kids engaged in choosing dinners for the family and also bringing home desserts that they all like as a reward for good behavior.

When homework is completed, baths are taken, chores are done and prayers are said, they all get to do things they really like to do. Sometimes, we take turns saying grace before the evening meal or talk about all the things we have done during the day. Nonetheless, sometimes one of the boys will have a tough day. Usually Cooper, the youngest one.

Anyway, it was into this situation that Janet and I headed over to Kristin’s for dinner several nights ago. Although in general the boys have been okay, I found myself bracing for Cooper’s possible negative attitude. After all, you never know when he will want some special attention or act out when he doesn’t get something he believes he is entitled to. I’m sure that you have experienced similar scenarios with your children or grandchildren as well.

Anyway, we arrived to find Cooper in better spirits than I have seen lately. He asked for my help with a small project, was incredibly polite, wanted to know if there was anything he could do for me and was more pleasant than I have ever seen him – ever. I was truly amazed; and pleasantly surprised. While Kristin and Janet were getting dinner ready, I headed into the dining room to keep Cooper company. His great attitude continued. He actually even asked me if he could be the one to say grace before the meal. I turned to him and asked, “What’s gotten into you?” I was, of course, expecting some flippant answer, or an “I don’t know” but that’s not what I got. His answer stunned me, as he simply replied, “God’s heart.”

That’s it – two words – “God’s heart” –  from a 6 year old, no less……. In all my years as a parent, grandparent, or even in my various pastoral roles, I have never heard a response like this. I shook my head in acknowledgment, the rest of the family came in, Cooper said grace and we enjoyed a meal together.

Now I know that this is probably one of those times that you had to be there to fully recognize the magnitude of what occurred, but I assure you, my mind went right to the Scriptures and a particular verse from Matthew 18:3, “And He (Jesus) said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This kind of says it all.

Cooper wasn’t embarrassed, or hesitant, or perhaps even aware of the impact of his statement. How I wish for God’s heart in me. I’m sure you feel the same way. So there you have it – one of the great lessons of the year so far – taught by one of the youngest members of the kingdom of God. We should all have that kind of heart – God’s heart. And that is my encouragement this evening – that you seek God’s heart in you. My prayer is that you will listen for that still small voice calling you to a deeper relationship with Him. It’s an awesome journey…… Have a great day in the Lord. Grace and peace,


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