“Children are not only innocent and curious, but also optimistic and joyful and essentially happy. They are, in short, everything adults wish they could be.” – Carolyn Haywood

Please do not underestimate the physical, mental and spiritual worth of a little child. My precious grandchildren have taught me much. Here are two important life lessons learned from my grandchildren.

In October 2019, my wife, Trena, and I visited my son, Matthew, and his two children, Leo and Hazel, who were living in Casper at the time. We decided to go to the Eastridge Mall to look for some toys that we could purchase for my grandchildren. While walking around the mall, we discovered a Halloween store. It was dark and had many scary-looking mannequins in the entranceway. We could also hear lots of haunting sounds when we got closer to the store.

As we were about to enter the store, Leo (who was 2 years old at the time) told me in no uncertain terms that he was not going to enter the store. So, Leo and I sat in some chairs that were located a few yards away while Trena, Matthew and Hazel walked into the store. While we were sitting, Leo kept telling me that the mannequins were not really monsters and that the store was safe. He was doing his very best to convince himself to not be afraid.

A mother and her little girl who appeared to be about Leo’s age then walked right past us and into the Halloween store. With determination in his eyes, Leo told me that there were no real monsters in the store and that he was going in. I took Leo’s hand as he stood up and we began walking toward the store. One of the mannequins then let out a horrendous scream, at which time Leo then decided that even though the monsters were not real, we needed to quickly return to our seats. We then sat down and patiently waited for Trena, Matthew and Hazel to exit the store.

Leo taught me that even though they may be irrational, we should not ignore, neglect or otherwise attempt to push away our emotions. Like it or not, our emotions are part of who we are.

About 8 months ago, I drove my then 4-year-old granddaughter, Brielle, to the dollar store for a special day. While we were shopping, Brielle discovered some bags of “birthday cake” flavored cotton candy. We put two bags of the cotton candy into our shopping cart and continued shopping.

After we purchased a lot of dollar store candy and toys, we got back into my car and headed for grandma’s house. During the drive home, I told Brielle that I was looking forward to trying some of the cotton candy. She replied, “Well, then – you should have bought yourself some.” What a little comedian.

It was about 7 months ago when I was sitting in church with my then 6-year-old grandson, Bridger. The service was nearing its conclusion, and I was a bit bored. Little Bridger, however, appeared to be very attentive and interested in the message being presented from the pulpit. Bridger made eye contact with me, smiled and then leaned over to whisper in my ear.

I anticipated that I was about to receive a profound message from my world-renowned grandson. He then asked me if I knew what started with a “P” and ended in an “E” and had lots of letters in it. I briefly reflected upon the matter and then whispered in his ear that I did not know the answer to his question. With a smile on his face, he quietly declared, “post office.” Apparently, I was not the only one who was a bit bored on that day.

Little Brielle and Bridger taught me that it is extremely important to always maintain a good, clear and clean sense of humor. Jennifer Jones declared, “If you could choose one characteristic that would get you through life, choose a sense of humor.”

Please pay attention and carefully listen to the little ones around you, and you just might learn some important life lessons.

John M. Walker is an attorney and lifelong Wyomingite who lives in Cheyenne. Email: jwalkwyo7@gmail.com.

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