As a preschooler I had the best time staying at my grandparents’ farm everyday during the week. My mom and dad both worked, so mom would drop me off early in the morning so that I could stay with Meme and Daddaw. My grandfather, Daddaw, owns a barbershop in town . . . but before he’d head off to work in the mornings he would go check on the chickens and feed the pigs. Daddaw had an old work truck that he would drive to where the farm animals were and boy did I love getting to the farm early enough to be able to hop in Daddaw’s truck with him.
That short drive was magical to me . . . I can remember the feel of the seat cover, the sound of the loud engine making its way, and the look of an early morning on a beautiful farm. It was nothing short of amazing. Daddaw knew this too . . . and that’s why he would let me go along with him . . . it was a rhythm we had established.
Meme was the same way . . . but she took a different approach with her rhythm. Meme loved planning the coolest trips for me, my brothers, and all of our cousins. With Meme, you never knew what kind of adventure you were going to take on any given day. Meme knew what she was doing . . . it was her way of intentionally creating a rhythm . . . us grandkids knew that when we were with Meme that something unexpected and wonderful was going to happen . . . something we would never forget.
Why are grandparents so good at creating magical rhythms with their grandkids? Is it because they have more free time? Nope. My Daddaw and Meme still run a successful barbershop and work a farm. I think it’s because they have had the experience of raising kids . . . they have the wisdom to know that kids grow up WAY too fast and that they need to be intentional about creating rhythms that will foster wonderful moments and lasting memories.
Well, now I am 30 years old, and one of my chores on Saturdays is to load up all the trash and haul it off to the dump a few miles from where we live. On the way there I stop at a little gas station and usually buy a Mountain Dew, and as I sip my Dew I listen to the radio and try to get back home in a timely fashion so that I can continue my morning with my wife and 2-year-old daughter.
Eventually I noticed that every time I would start to get ready to leave on Saturdays that my little girl would always start to cry . . . she would say, “come, come” . . . meaning that she wanted to come along. On top of this, Emma began asking to sit in my truck . . . she would walk up to one of the doors, point, and say, “sit”. The times when I gave in and said OK we would simply turn the truck on, crank up the AC, and listen to music . . . she could sit in there for hours.
So one Saturday as I was about to take the trash off, Emma, once again, started to cry . . . it was then that it hit me . . . I can create a rhythm just like Meme and Daddaw did with me! I thought, “What if I take the car seat out of the Element and put it in my truck and take Emma with me on Saturdays?” I pitched the idea to Marissa and then she proceeded to check the car seat laws in Tennessee and we learned that it’s legal to have Emma ride with me in my truck . . . So that’s what happened.
Emma was so excited. I said, “Baby girl, you want to come with daddy to take off the trash.” She smiled and said, “YES! YES!”. As I put her in my truck her eyes lit up and she began to giggle. As we drove down the road she jabbered non-stop (mainly stuff I couldn’t understand). On the way back we stopped off at the little gas station and I bought her a juice and Candy Corn . . . man did she like the Candy Corn!
Upon our return I told Marissa that I would like for that to become a “thing” that Emma and I do on Saturdays . . . a “Rhythm” of our week. I mean . . . why not? Emma is crazy about my truck and loves Candy Corn . . . why not create that rhythm as long as it works, and as she gets older and doesn’t enjoy trips to the dump anymore (LOL!!!) I can look out for different rhythms.
One way that Grace Community Church’s Kids Ministry partners with parents is to give them take-home tools that help start conversations, activities, and even lasting moments that kids can carry with them for the rest of their lives. We hope that parents will begin to look at their take-home tools as a way to create wonderful rhythms with their kids.
The most important thing is that we as parents INTENTIONALLY look for magical rhythms with our kids and consistently carry them out . . . and as our children grow and therefore change, so will the rhythms we create.