Learning To Play Again

By Will Randolph

older-adult-learning-to-play-againLife is an adventure...or so they say. What great adventures have you been on, both real and imaginary? Several years ago, I went on a summer visit to a friend, whose grandchild was visiting. They were playing pirate on his boat which was in the back yard. It brought memories back to me of my own play at my grandpa Thorn Oliphant's farm. I would climb aboard his tractor and pretend I was him. One day my Grandpa came home from the fields and spied me on the tractor. To my surprise rather than being mad, or simply going into the house, even though he was hot and tired, he came over and ask me what I was doing. When I replied I was playing him on the tractor, he asked me where "he was going?" Trying out a big word I said "on an adventure." So he asked if he come come along. I formed a memory and an adventure that day.

My grandpa would have been in his late 60's at the time of this memory, roughly equivalent to some of our now retiring Boomers. I learned about how to operate the tractor from him, and how to plow. Heck, he even started up the tractor and assisted me in driving it, pushing the brake, and guiding the steering wheel. But I taught him something that day. I taught him to be a child again and to play.

Such is the beauty of generations together. I don't have grandkids yet. But my friends that do tell me that they learn things from their grandkids and that they are even more fun to be around than their kids. Generations coming together is an important part of life. Perhaps that is why Jesus in Luke 18 (et. par.) said "Let the Children come to me, and the Kingdom belongs to these." It was his way of encouraging us to be reminded by children that no matter how old we become, we are still Children of God. It was also a way of saying we can learn from the little children, but we can all be like the great rabbi and teach them too. Churches too. Putting Older Adults and kids together to play and learn together is a great adventure for churches.