We are back in town for two days before I head out on my prayer sabbatical until July 4th. The rest for my body has been such a blessing and the memories made with Amy and the children will stay with us forever. I’m still refraining from writing so here is another guest post from my dad, Doug Lyle. See you soon!
When I was young towhead in the early 1950s, we didn’t have iPads or iPods. We did have peapods but marvels like 8-Track and LP records were inventions in the distant, murky future that we knew nothing about. We didn’t have a television. Well, not to speak of anyway. The TV that sat pretty much unused in our dining room (of all places!), sported a huge screen of nearly 3” in diameter! Yes, it was round. Best I can remember there was only one operative channel and it seemed strangely preoccupied with projecting a stationary test pattern most of the day. No, the most sophisticated technology we had around our house was my Dad’s hammer. Any entertainment was up to us. Using our God-given imaginations and a few unsophisticated toys from our parents, we carved out little roads at the foot of the huge oak tree that oversaw all front yard activity from its towering spot on the hill. We “drove” our little toy cars over those roads, letting them occasionally roll off into a naturally occurring ditch.
And when we had driven those roads to our heart’s content, we built model airplanes – the kind made of balsam wood that came disassembled in little cellophane bags. Then, just before launching them into flight, we lit their tails on fire and imagined them to be fighter planes that had been shot down. I mean, really! Could life get any better? If your childhood was in a later era, you might chuckle at our unsophisticated play. But regardless of the era, one thing is certain. Everyone who is a child acts like one. The details will vary but not the child. The Apostle Paul records his thoughts about being a child in the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians:
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. “ – 1 Corinthians 13: 11
My family has accused me of having a strange sense of humor. Sometimes, sitting in a restaurant, I’ll notice a family with a couple of hyperactive children who are standing up in a booth or picking up their food with their mouths or participating in some other unseemly, childish behavior. I think to myself (sometimes I let my thoughts exit my mouth, thus leading to my family’s accusations), wouldn’t it be funny if adults behaved like this in a restaurant? I can see it now…some guy who’s about 6’ 5” jumping up and down on the booth seat or maybe a stylishly dressed woman lapping up her mashed potatoes like her pet cat. Okay! Maybe this is funny only to me but you get the point. How bizarre it would be to see such behavior! It would make us uncomfortable, perhaps even fearful. That’s because when a person grows up, we expect them to not act like a child.
Probably nobody reading this has ever jumped up and down in a restaurant booth as an adult or lapped up food from their plate like an animal. We are just too sophisticated for that. But our sophistication doesn’t always keep us from acting like children. Anger outbursts, pouting, gossiping, lying to get out of trouble, pretending that we are someone other than who we really are, whining, ostracizing people. The list of childish behaviors is much longer but these should be sufficient to get our attention. Paul says that when he became a man, he put away childish things. I don’t play with toy cars anymore and I gave up setting fire to model airplanes a long time ago. But, if I’m honest, I have to confess that I still engage in childish things from time to time. And they aren’t the harmless kinds. How about you?
Today would be a good day to take an inventory of how you think and how you behave. Crank up your God-given imagination and see if you can spot your inner child spilling over. Look for things like broken or strained relationships. Ferret out the silliness of pouting or whining about life. Go make amends with that person you’ve been ostracizing. Decide to keep your mouth closed when it comes to other people. Instead of projecting that dreamed-up perfect you, let other people see your flaws.
In short, act like a man or like a woman. Leave child’s play to the children.