There is nothing like being the focus of a young child’s attention. It first occurs when as a baby, with laser attention, she stares into your face and smiles. Then as she is learning to walk, she reaches for your hand in an invitation to join her as she goes forth to discover new and wonderful things. The day comes when, with crayon in hand, she creates a masterpiece with you as the subject.
Granddaughter Maggie just turned five. She loves to sing: “Look at the sky, look at the stars. Look how awesome and endless they are.” She dances around the dining room table swirling and jumping. And she draws and paints –– big images with bright colors.
Maggie sent me her most recent crayon portrait –– one of her dad, my son Kyle. She draws with her eye, but her eye is not dictated by form but by her heart. And her proportions are not restrained by the discipline of the likes of Michelangelo, but by the joy of line and color that explodes from her imagination.
Her dad’s feet are drawn small despite the fact that he wears a size 13. The feet she draws are feet that never outrun hers when they play in the backyard together. She draws his hands big –– big enough to cradle her when she is sick or needs a bit of special attention. When she falls asleep reading a book, they carry her to bed and tuck covers snug around her. His head is large to store all the knowledge to address the unending questions she poses almost every waking moment.
The eyes and glasses are drawn oversized because she counts on him to see the things she cannot. She knows his eyes see dangers that can result in a skinned knee, bruised feelings or a misstep of bad judgment. He also sees good things. They pick tiny wildflowers side by side and he stoops down to watch bugs crawl –– things others just walk over. His mouth is the brightest part of the portrait. It is an important part of her drawing. It’s from his mouth that Maggie hears the words, “I love you, sweet girl.”
Scripture teaches: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are older they will not turn from it.”
I never miss the opportunity to tell my son that he is a good father. The evidence is in the three children he and Susan parent. Kyle and Susan both grew up in homes where they were loved and nurtured –– by parents who taught the importance of family.
“Dad,” Kyle tells me about Maggie’s picture, “she says I do have ears, they are just hidden behind the rainbow. . .”
Maggie, like her brothers Roger and Stuart, is watching and listening. She is learning things she will never forget.
Article Written by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children Editor