I am on a face-to-face call with Texas granddaughter Maggie.
“Papa! Watch this!”
“I’m watching!” I assure the curly-haired laughing sweetheart. Instantly, I see her
screen image embellished with a big red nose and crazy rainbow hair. She loves the video filters and masks on Google Messenger.
A moment later, her eyes and nose appear on a pink pig’s face. Then the screen morphs
again, and I see an hourglass-looking shape with Maggie’s features multiplying. I quickly
run out of superlatives and exclamations to react to her shape-shifting shenanigans.
This little one keeps this grandfather up-to-date on all the current trends and fun video tricks. The real plus, I have to admit, is the bubbly laughter I hear nonstop. Giggling, she returns to the screen as herself.
Stuart’s and Roger’s little sister shares their curiosity and love of learning, and she can climb monkey bars and ride bikes with the best of them. She keeps me up to speed on favorite songs, must-watch shows, and the latest first grade fashion. My favorite weekend treat is her phone call. She usually lets me say hi to her brothers, too. I hear a brief account of their worlds and then Maggie comes back on the line.
I saw the Texas grands in July, but that visit seems so long ago. Since then, Maggie has gone to Six Flags with her dad, multiple
state park trips with her family, vacationed in New Mexico and Colorado, celebrated Roger’s then Pawpaw’s birthdays, and started first grade. I had reports on all of these events via smartphone chats. It is an interesting phenomenon how those micro visits can make me feel close to her and far away from her at the exact same time.
From all accounts, Maggie embraces change like a pro. Her new school year gives scope for her expanding intellect and need to know; it also provides opportunities to meet lots of people who are different from her and her family. She hears many points of view of lives lived in many different homes. She brings those experiences back into her world and debriefs with her mom, dad, and brothers
to put all of the new into context with her family’s values and standards. Growing up today is so multi-faceted, and so far she handles it well.
Six-year-old Maggie has a terrific world perspective. She has the ability to see the individual and treat each as a friend. She understands we all have our differences, and she knows she doesn’t want to incorporate some of those attributes into her own
character; still, she accepts all of us as we are. Watching her, I renew my commitment to treat others as I want to be treated.
We read in Scripture how Jesus embraced the child, acknowledged and valued the women He encountered, drew near to the homeless and the sick, supped with the sinner, and spoke to those not accepted in proper Hebrew circles. We serve the One who reaches out to the “whosoever” (John 3:16), the One who came into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Him should stay in darkness (John 12:46). It is in accepting others that we open doors of ministry, proclaiming the saving power of Jesus.
Recently, daughter-in-law Susan shared Maggie’s latest writing with me. Her words took up the entire loose leaf page, the two colors of marker making her words pop. In her own phonetic spelling, she pens: “Pepole are difrente in difrente wasse and I thenck you shod be your selfe…Thoe I like you the way you are… you be how you want to be.”
You know, I cannot improve on her message to all of us, so I will just end this article. And hope my phone rings soon. It is the weekend, after all.
Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children