I was eating lunch at CFA earlier today when an older couple came in with an adorable little girl about 4 years old, their granddaughter. While her grands were in line at the register, this little girl took the initiative to get a height chair, take it to the table next to mine, and then proceeded to prepare the table setting just the way she wanted it. She even counted the chairs to make sure there was enough for her little group.
After her grandparents had ordered, her grandmother came over and asked what she was doing, then told her that they were going to sit outside on the patio. Well this upset the little girl, so she started whining and complaining that it was ‘hot’ outside (it was in the mid-50’s F). After about 5 minutes of whining, her grands just started walking toward the door, which caused her to reluctantly follow along with as pouty a face as she could muster.
Watching this unfold, I had to chuckle to myself. Children really are just like adults, only without the skills to conceal their true intents and motivations. This little girl beautifully demonstrated something I’ve come to realize over the past couple of years: genuine value comes from investment.
That table wasn’t anything special. But she invested time and effort to make it just the way she wanted it, which made it valuable to her.
I watch as numerous young people today wander aimlessly through life, searching for something – anything – of value. They cannot find it because everything is given to them on a silver platter, free of charge. They cannot value anything as their own because everything they have is by the work and the investments of others. And so for them, life is cheap and disposable, rich in material yet barren in value. That’s sad.
Perhaps one of the best things we can do for our children is to let them work and create, to allow them the experience of fulfillment that comes with invested effort. Maybe we should sit at the table that they’ve taken the time and effort to prepare.