“Why are you moving the King, Grandma?”
“That’s how you play Solitaire. Watch what happens when I move it.”
“Wow! Another card is there. How did you do that?” Aiden asked.
“When you move a card that has one underneath it, the bottom one flips over so you can see it.”
Our latest visit to Minnesota gave us the chance to spend some quiet time in a hotel room with a grandson. Of course, quiet is relative. It took this particular child a number of years to begin talking – but he has wasted no time in catching up. Now he talks continually, always with some “new idea” to share. Explaining Solitaire to an eight-year-old can be challenging. But is it harder to teach him using a real deck of cards or using the computer? Like so many things in our lives today, we have moved from the tangible to the intangible.
I remember when “Go out and play” actually meant “Go outside the house.” Now, you can play “outside” by entering a virtual neighborhood or even another country – all from your couch on a laptop computer. Although I believe the imaginations of children today are much more advanced than mine was at their age, I wonder how much they lose without the physical contact with other children at play. The day-to-day games of tag or building a tree house required actual hands-on activity.
I think back on a “blind date” and how nervous I was meeting someone new for the first time. Now so many “dates” are made online – not before reading a full profile of the person you are going to meet. Ice cream shops and drive-ins have been replaced replaced by coffee shops and movie rentals. New couples don’t worry if they should hold hands; thoughts are well beyond that simple physical contact.
I belong to an older generation. I still allow my wife to enter a door before me, while I hold it open. I still think “Sunday best” means something. Spending time with those I love doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – and neither does Christmas. No matter what Wal-Mart or Toys R Us want you to believe. Time is a valuable commodity, nowadays all-too-often wasted on fantasy pursuits in an online environment.
As for me and my house, we will spend time together, playing board games, making gingerbread houses – or Solitaire in a hotel room while holding an eight-year-old on Grandma’s lap. As we do so, we will enjoy the giggles and hugs that come along with the grandparent – grandchild relationships.
These are the best of times. Time – we all have some – spend it wisely.
Jesus said it best: “Suffer the little children to come unto me.”
Move over, Facebook. Checkers and Go Fish are next…