Six Big Lessons From a Pair of 6-Year-Old Boys

Photo by zivile-arunas

If you’re one of those lucky grandparents who interacts with grandsons (or boys in general) on a regular basis, these simple lessons could help keep you sane. For those whose grandsons are with you less frequently – say during holidays or out-of-town visits – keep these lessons handy. The same rule about sanity applies regardless of how often they are applied.

Lesson #1 – Let them be boys.

Give them space to get physical, both literally and figuratively. If that means a pillow fight in the living room, be sure the family heirlooms are safely stored away before the feathers fly. Trust me, this activity will only last for a few minutes, but the giggles will last for years.

Lesson #2 – Protect your property.

Plan diversionary tactics before the pillow fight begins. This reduces the need to blurt out such comments as “Watch out for that lamp!” or “Don’t try to knock off his head!” Instead, you might more calmly say, “Hey guys, let’s put the pillows back on the sofa (after we get it upright) and race the remote-control cars.” This tactic works most of the time.

Lesson #3 – Sometimes boys need to sit.

Slow the tempo with a few breaks to read stories. Ignore the initial objections and give them a few minutes to stop jumping on each other before you begin to read. Choose an easy-reader book on a topic of interest to them: dinosaurs, automotives, animals, or whatever… Before you know it, they’ll be pointing out “sight words” they learned at school. Score some points for providing a teachable moment. That’s about how long it will last.

Lesson #4 – Review lesson #1.

Expect to see more cars, wrestling, and/or makeshift weaponry as soon as a story is finished. You can’t keep a 6-year-old boy down for long. Divide that time in half if you’re dealing with two boys and divide that time in half for each additional boy. Put a reminder in the “notes” app on your phone, a pledge that you will allow your grandson to invite only one boy per play date.

Lesson #5 – Boys like to play with food.

Let them help prepare their own dinner – after they wash their hands, of course. Try something easy, say, “Make Your Own Pizzas”. Portion off thawed pizza dough and let each boy roll out his own crust. Then provide sauce, cheese, and pepperoni as toppings. (That’s probably all you’ll need, unless you have a culinary child prodigy who prefers exotic ingredients like green peppers or olives.)

Lesson #6 – Let them pray.

Before the guys tear into their pizzas, give them time to thank Jesus for the food they are about to eat. You might be surprised by what you hear when they are given the opportunity to express thanks in their own words. Sometimes, not always, in addition to thanks for food you may hear thanks for the time they had to play together and thanks for the people who allowed them to just be 6-year-old boys.

Bonus Lesson – For those who have granddaughters.

Take heart. For the most part, the lessons presented above apply to girls, except there is more pink and lace involved. Let them be girls, and let their interests drive the choice of activities. Yes, this might involve nail polish on grandpa’s fingernails to go along with his intriguing new hairstyle. Just keep a comb and some polish remover handy for after they leave.

Add your own lessons to the list at:


Vertical Vision

A photo (10)Saguaro cactus takes about a century to reach towering heights. It’s impressive to realize one of its seeds planted on the day a child is born might still be going strong when that child’s grandchildren have grandchildren of their own. It is during the latter years that the cactus makes its most iconic visual statement, pointing high into the heavens, sheltering families of birds, bats, and other desert animals.

Grandparents can be a lot like the Saguaro. After decades of living, those of us who reach our “mature” years have already overcome many of the challenges today’s younger generations are first experiencing. But, we have the advantage of knowing what it is like to grow up in a more innocent time with fewer distractions. We didn’t need reflecting gardens or meditation circles to calm the chaos.

As a child, I learned about my parents’ faith from the way they lived as well as the words they used. They were content with what they had and worked to improve their situation. I learned to appreciate their strong Christian ethics. Because of their financial sacrifices, I attended a private school that reinforced their lessons and laid down a solid base of knowledge for my continued education.

It wasn’t until years later that I fully appreciated what they had given to me. It helps to remind myself of this during times when I question the value of what I’m doing to teach my grandson about faith in Jesus. My grandson sees my struggles, but he also sees how God gives me strength to persevere when I would rather give up.

Children learn by what they observe. That’s one way vertical vision works. Vertical vision works best when I lift my eyes upward to the Father, who sustains me during the dry periods and refreshes my spirit. That is one lesson I hope to pass along.

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