Its funny, in a way, the things that children remember, the items children treasure as souvenirs. Inspect carefully the pocket of a 5 year-old boy or the back-pack of a 10 year-old girl, and you might will some odd things that have some rather strong value to them.
Right now, Im looking at one of my most prized possessions. Each time that I look at it, I am transported back to summers in Coquille, Oregon when I was a kid. You see, we would come back from Central America to this almost coastal town, and spend some time with my grandparents. My grandpa worked for Georgia Pacific (a lumber company) and his job required him to wear a hard hat.
Maybe it was habit, maybe it was prevention, maybe it was comforting, but he would also wear a hard hat around the house, the yard, and wherever else he would find himself working. As a child, one of my strongest memories was of my grandpa wearing his hard hat.
As far as hard hats go its nothing special really. Metallic gray colored, scratches galore, a few small dents, and one nice size dent. It would probably not meet current safety standards. Yet to me, as the Mastercard advertisement declares, it is priceless!
I hold it in my hand, I feel the years of use, I see the worn headband, I smell the faint odor of grease and I think of my grandpa. I think about all the fun we had together. I see his smile and I hear his voice. When I hold this hard hat it brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. He probably had no idea how much that hard hat meant to me, how much it means to me now.
I came home from work the other day, and Reese wanted me to play a new game he had discovered: Hall Hockey! He has a couple of 3-year-old size plastic golf clubs, and a 3-year-old size plastic golf ball with which he wants to play hockey. You figure it out!
He probably had no idea how much that hard hat meant to me.
When I first got home, I was tired. I wanted to kick back, relax, and unwind. But he wanted me to play this new game and I thought about my hard hat. We had a great time he even beat me and a new game has been born at our house. But its not just a new game its another way to interact, to bond, to deepen the relationship between father and son.
My hard hat is a powerful reminder that I need to be investing myself in the life of my children doing the things they love. I may never really know what will have the greatest meaning for them. What will they look back upon with smiles and tears as they remember me?
Hard Hats & Hall Hockey stuff the Bible talks about! The very last verse in the Old Testament, the book of Malachi 4:6 says, Elijah will help parents love their children and children love their parents. Otherwise, I will come and put a curse on the land. I know there are enough families in this world who are cursed because of parents who do not love their children and children who do not love their parents. So I say were ready, again, for God to send someone to help us. What a blessing it would be, for all of our families, to have our hearts turned to our children and have our childrens hearts turned to us parents, and grand-parents, and surrogate grand-parents.
Who knows, when God does send that someone, they just might come wearing a hard hat and looking for someone to play hall hockey!