Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"Granddad? Where Are You?"

My 2-year-old grandson, Wyatt, just like his 4-year-old sister, Gracie, brings me much, much joy.

We hit it off pretty early on, actually.

I'm not sure why.

Maybe this is the way of grandchildren and doting grandfathers.

What do you think?

At any rate, Wyatt and I are fast friends, real good buddies.

Over the past weekend, Wyatt and Gracie spent the night at our house. These are always great times, and this visit was no expectation.

Saturday morning after breakfast I stepped into my bedroom. Wyatt was playing in the den.

Shortly, I could hear him coming my way.

His words were very clear and determined:

"Granddad? Where are you?"

"Granddad? Where are you?" he continued.

It didn't take him long to find me and we enjoyed a laughing good time in the discovery of my whereabouts!

The weekend ended.

My routine kicked back in.

But Wyatt's question stuck with me.

"Granddad? Where are you?"

It is a good question, isn't it?

It is a question that has the fortitude, the substance to carry you on a ways in life.

I mean, to Wyatt, where I am matters a lot.

At this point in his life, it is crucial for him to know and to understand exactly where I am physically, geographically.

But, there will come a time--if it is not already here--when he will need to know and to see where I am from many other important perspectives.







My little buddy has no idea just how accountable his life and his questions keep me.

Someday I will tell him.

Until then, I guess I will need to show him.

One thing I do know. I need to be present in his world, and that of his very special big sister, so that they can know and count on the fact that wherever I am, I am there for them.

My relationship with Wyatt and Gracie reminds me of just how important the connections between fathers and grandfathers and their children and grandchildren are for community health and progress.

Poverty serves up formidable impediments to these essential connections. Men who have to put in many hours to provide for their families, face unique challenges as they work to stay connected to their little ones.

Of course, this is true of men who earn a better living as well. They are well acquainted with long hours as well.

It may be that in this common intersection we discover a very unique space where low-income and middle- and upper-income men can meet and connect and help one another with this fundamental assignment--the assignment of simply being present for our children and grandchildren.

Peeling away the excuses, whether poor or rich, helps bring focus to our most important priorities.

Men have no excuse.

We can make excuses endlessly, but they just don't hold up in the face of Wyatt's very important question.

Making sure he knows the answer is very important. . .

. . .important to him.

. . .important to me.

. . .important to our community and its health.

Anything I can do, any action I can take to provide an answer to his question will help me know better how to engage and build the community I care so much about.

I've learned to keep Wyatt and Gracie "with me" during every day.

I need them "with me" to answer Wyatt's question for myself.


KentF said...

Great comments Larry. Question for you. Jeffery spent Easter weekend sleeping behind my office. I ran into him Saturday - left him alone, saw him again Sunday - asked him if he needed anything. He said a "job". So, yesterday morning I took him to the Workforce center, got him plugged into their system, took him to lunch at Salvation Army - and dropped him off at Godtel - our local shelter. He had been there before - about a year ago - and left after two days - said the rules were not "him". He has a fairly bad attitude - quite angry. He wants a good job, but is not committed to the process due to his anger. Not sure what else I can do for Jeffery? Thanks Larry. BTW - I'm not in Lufkin - about 3 hours southeast of you.

Larry James said...

Kent, thanks for the post.

Sounds like you did right by your friend. He must take responsibility as well, if he is to progress.

What would be really good would be an on-going friendship with him. And not the kind where all the giving flows from you. Getting to know him and he you would be the best hope for him and a real blessing for you.