- Special Sections
- Public Notices
At some point recently, we were the “Goo-gas.” At one point, we were the “Gummas,” and, I think, even “Gooms.”
For those who don’t speak toddlerese, that’s “Grandma” or Grandpa.” My husband and I just returned from visiting our granddaughter, Caroline, in Maryland.
I learned much in the short time we were with her. For instance, when you’re introduced to a child you haven’t seen since she was a baby, a bag of M&Ms works as a Grandma magnet.
I learned how petty I can be if I think the kid likes Grandpa better than me.
I learned how fun it is to go to Toys’ R Us and pile a shopping cart full of stuff I don’t have to put together, or trip over, and how fun it is to buy “doll clothes” for a real, live wiggly doll.
I learned what a good mother my daughter is, and that she takes seriously her calling as a teacher and trainer of another human being. I also learned that I have subzero patience for little, strong-willed people, and that it’s probably a good thing I don’t volunteer in the nursery at church.
As I watched this child want up, then down, lights on, then off, jacket on, jacket off, I kept thinking, “Kid, if you’d just cooperate, listen to your mom and do what she says, your life would be a whole lot easier.”
But then I realized she was behaving a lot like her grandmother, who also wants everything her own way NOW, and so I kept my mouth shut.
I loved watching Caroline with her daddy, my son-in-law, Craig. When he walks into a room, her face lights up. They play a game where they run toward each other, and then he swerves and misses her.
She always has her eyes on him, and she laughs when he picks her up.
But she uses him, too. Since he’s tall, he makes a handy ladder. She’ll ask him to pick her up, as if her motive is only to be held and loved. But then she’ll motion for what she really wants: to turn on/off/on/off the light switch or reach a snack in the cupboard.
Not even 2-years-old, and she knows how to manipulate.
People who think children are born innocent haven’t observed toddlers. Toddlers bite their dads and kick their moms. They throw tantrums at the mall and grab straws out of strangers’ sodas at Wendy’s and toys away from other kids.
Toddlers need Jesus.
When Caroline’s mother (my daughter, Alison) was just barely 3, she stood in her crib wearing her red, fuzzy Winnie-the-Pooh blanket sleeper and said, “I need Jesus in my heart.”
Night after night, during our bedtime prayers, she kept saying it. At the time, I had thought she was too young to understand salvation—“by grace are ye saved, through faith.” but then I asked her, “WHY do you need Jesus in your heart?”
She looked at me and said, “Because I sin.”
As they say on Family Feud, “Good answer! Good answer!”
The Bible says God has put eternity in our hearts, and that we’re all born with a knowledge of him. Our hearts know that something is missing, that we were created for more than just eating and drinking and going to work five days a week. More than “Life is hard and then you die.”
Blaise Pascal said we all have a “God-shaped vacuum” that isn’t satisfied until God moves in. If it’s God-shaped, then logically, only God can fill it. We need a Father. We need a Savior.
Preachers say, “God doesn’t have grandchildren.” That’s not a quote from the Bible, although the concept is true. We all stand before God as individuals, with our own individual faith. As winsome as she is, Caroline can’t get into heaven by claiming my faith or her parents’ faith, only her own. She needs Jesus in her heart, because she sins. She needs a Father. She needs a Savior.
So, my prayer for my precious granddaughter is that her parents will expose her to the same gospel of grace that once captured their hearts—and that one day, when God whispers her name and bids her to join his family by faith, she’ll run into his welcoming arms.
Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927, Monday through Thursday, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.