Janet and I have eleven children between the two of us, and the count’s at 9 on grandchildren. We’re thinking there’s plenty more to come, especially since 5 of the kids aren’t married yet.
We bought a place last year that was right for family and grandchildren. I built a standard wooden swing set from a hardware kit. Easy peasy. But it needed more!
We looked at playground ideas and my imagination ran as wild as an East Texas roadrunner.
Then a blast from the past popped up on Pinterest, a firetruck. I grew up around that! My dad was a volunteer fireman for years, and two of those years I was the official “mascot” of the fire department. That’s pretty cool for an elementary age kid!
I knew about an old fire truck which had been sitting in a field rusting the last 22 years. I got permission and scavenged pieces and parts.
I was in hog heaven! For several weeks I would mess around after work with pieces of wood to build a firetruck for the grandkids to play on!
Maybe it’s a grandparent thing. I don’t know. But somehow building and doing something especially for grandkids is deeply satisfying. My son-in-law works at a body shop and painted a small panel off the firetruck as well as the only thing not from it, a grill off an old United States Postal carrier Jeep.
It may sound silly, but the firetruck became a mixture of sentimental, creative and practical, with the crowning jewel of knowing the grandchildren can play on it for years.
I wonder what it be will like in twenty or thirty years. The metal, brass and aluminum pieces will last longer than the treated wood, and unless it’s maintained, weak spots can develop over time where the metal and wood attach.
But what seems cool and relevant to the grandkids right now, like being a fire department mascot as a kid for me, will no doubt turn into distant memories.
Twenty years from now nothing will be the same. The only consistent thing in life is change. Society, technology, people, we change, we grow, develop, deteriorate. The world I knew as a child is so incredibly different than the world my grandchildren know.
In some ways, we are better off. But I wonder if in the most important things, the foundation, the fabric of our culture, if we aren’t falling apart at the seams at a beatnik speed. What will be consistent for the children and grandchildren? It doesn’t look like much.
They need roots, a place to always go that is solid and dependable. We want to be that in people form for the grandkids, but they need more than people.
They need something for the fires of life. Water from a firetruck may help, but they need Living Water, from the One who walked on water.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Time, people, firetrucks come and go, but the Word of God endures forever. (Isaiah 40:8b)
I’m convicted that the time and effort I put into a playground firetruck is good, but not best. Time and effort pointing to the Truth is best!
May the children, and our children’s, children’s children, know, stand and live on that consistent, solid foundation. Even when everything else changes, may they know the One who always remains the same.
In the mean time, climb on the firetruck and play!