7 Mar 2015
One of my grandchildren asked me quite a penetrating question this week. Everybody knows how perceptive these little people are, especially when they are around big people. I am all for questions and answering questions and that sort of thing. Sometimes, however, the question crosses the wrong line.
“Grandpa,” one of the little people asked, “how old are you?”
One thing I have adhered to throughout life is to always tell the truth, which has been a great challenge.
Before I was married, there was no problem about always telling the truth. I always got in trouble if I did not tell the truth and so my practice has been to always tell the truth, no matter how difficult it might be and no matter who it might hurt.
Then I got married. Growing up I did not have much interaction with people of the opposite sex. Actually, they made me nervous every time I was around them. What do you say? What do you talk about? After all, girls are not boys.
After being married for several years, I was presented with a question I was in no way prepared for. We were going to a banquet and just before leaving the house, my wife looked at me and said, “Does this dress make me look too fat?”
Where was my father when this question was posed? He never prepared me for such questions.
I really did not know what to say. Truth, as everybody knows, can be relative, especially when you are related to the one who was asking you the question. When it comes to clothing and fashions, I am completely outclassed.
After I got over being stunned by this question posed to me by my wife, a wonderful thought hit me. I looked at her and simply said, “I don’t know about that, but your hair looks beautiful.”
“Oh,” she said with a smile dancing all over her face, “thank you.”
Getting back to the question of the little person, I had to ponder for quite a while. How old am I, really?
I am not sure I can really answer that kind of a question. It all depends upon your definition of old. When I was in my 20s, someone my current age I consider old. Now that I am this age, I have a different understanding of the word old.
How old a person is, has nothing to do with the year of his or her birth. The one thing my father did tell me about people of the opposite sex is, “Never ask a woman her age.” To the best of my knowledge, I have kept to that standard.
“So, grandpa,” the curious little person asked, “how old are you?”
When you have a little person whose age is still in the single digits how do they know anything about age? Most of these little people are most anxious to reach that birthday where their age is double digits. You realize, single digits only last for nine years and double digits lasts the rest of your life!
This little person looked at me with curiosity all over her face, when a marvelous and wonderful thought danced into my cranium. I then responded, “Well, I am not as old as your grandma.” For the time being, that satisfied that little slice of curiosity.
I quickly excused myself because I was quite certain the little person was going to approach her grandma with that question and I did not want to be in the room.
With all of the fads and the trends today toward looking younger what is a person to do. When young we want to look old and when a person gets to some magical age, they want to look young. What is the right age?
Looking back over my life, I do not know any year I would like to repeat. I certainly do not want to be a teenager again. I remember those teenage years and I was so glad to get out of that age group. My 20s were not any better, except it was during my 20s that I met the person who later became the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Those were good years.
Then when I got into my 30s, little people started coming into our house. They arrived about 18 to 20 months apart and stopped when the number reached three. Three is a good number.
I certainly do not want to go back to that time when little people were roaming throughout the house day and night. I certainly do not want to go back to the time when those little people became teenagers. The roughest thing about having teenagers is that it is payback for when you were a teenager. That is why as a grandpa, I smile benignly as I watch my children trying to parent their teenagers.
What I would like to do is remind those parents of what life was like for me when they were teenagers. It is wonderful being a grandfather who always gets the last laugh.
David understood this when he wrote, “Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed thy strength unto thisgeneration, andthy power to every one thatis to come” (Psalms 71:18).
I am not old; I am just mature for my age.