Recently, due to some unexpected circumstances, I have had the privilege of spending a significant amount of time with my two youngest grandchildren. The older of the two, has just turned five. She had been telling me for a week about her plans to spend a Tuesday morning with her good friend from school, Caroline. The two of them attend a day school on Monday and Wednesday mornings each week in the basement classroom of a teacher’s home in their neighborhood. Tuesday arrived, and Riley was excited about the prospect of riding ponies at Carolines. “Ponies?” I asked. I thought it was a bit odd that someone in a neighborhood close by would actually have ponies at their house. Of course, I had a pony in my backyard when I was growing up in a small south Georgia town, so it wasn’t entirely outside the scope of my imagination for it to be the truth. Perhaps there was a “rent a pony” kiddie entertainment contractor that Caroline’s mother had secured for the day as a surprise for neighborhood kids, I thought.
The day of the visit at Caroline’s I had to be away from the house all day, so when Riley came home I didn’t get to ask about the pony ride. Several days later I was with Caroline’s mother and asked her about the ponies that had caused such excitement. Caroline’s mother laughed and told me about the ponies. Caroline and her sister had attended a child’s birthday party and, as party favors, each child had been given a stick “pony” with fabric head, hair, and rope bridle- the kind that we all rode as children when we played cowboys and Indians. The girls had spent the morning riding the stick ponies in the backyard and thought it was great fun!
Who knew? Children today are really not so different than we were as children. The simplest things can provide great entertainment. We oftentimes lose sight of how imaginative and easily engaged children can be. It reminded me, here at Christmas time, that sometimes it is the boxes and the wrapping that are more fun and engaging than the high tech, noisy, toys that come in them!
I thank the Lord for reminding me what it feels like to be a child again!