By Ken Lass
Hello little man. Forgive me if I’m not holding you just right. It’s been over thirty years since my children were as small as you. I’m a bit out of practice. As I rock your tiny body in my arms, and stare in awe at the beautiful miracle that you are, I can’t help but wonder what your life will be like. What things you’ll see, where you’ll go, what you’ll do, what you’ll become, what the world will be like when you’re my age.
I don’t have a clue what the future holds. But I can tell you what you’ve missed.
You missed a childhood without fear. There once was a time when the world was not such a scary place. When you could leave the house in the morning without telling your Mom where you were going, play with your friends all day, and come back in time for supper with no questions asked. A time when you knew all your neighbors and they knew you, and everybody’s house seemed to belong to everybody. When your Mom could pack you in the car and take you along to the grocery store without locking the house….even leaving the garage door open.
You missed the serenity of life with no mobile phones. When people drove their cars actually looking at the road instead of their text messages. When your car was a refuge from a world constantly wanting your time and attention. A time when families would sit at a restaurant table and actually talk to each other instead of staring intensely at their newsfeed. You missed a time when you weren’t in danger of getting sucked into the deception of social media, with all its facades, a fantasy world where everyone else’s life seems better than yours. A time before the internet, before every sort of good and evil in the world was available at the touch of a screen.
You missed a lot of people. There were people who pumped your gas, reset the pins on your bowling alley, ushered the aisles at movie theatres, and gave you cash at the bank. By the time you’re old enough to notice cashiers and waitresses, they may be gone as well. You missed an incredible great grandmother who would have modeled for you what selfless love really looks like.
You missed dictionaries, phone books, encyclopedias, bottle openers, maps, wringers, rotary phones and shoe horns.
You missed Muhammad Ali, Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant, Mickey Mantle, Wilt Chamberlain and Arnold Palmer.
American Bandstand, Disco, Wolfman Jack, Veejays, The Twist and sock hops.
Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Martin Luther King, Walter Cronkite, Gandhi, and Vietnam.
The Cold War, the Berlin wall, the Cuban missile crisis, 9/11, gas rationing, and the Great Recession.
You missed a time when being a Christian was seen by the world as positive and uplifting, not misunderstood as judgmental and non-inclusive.
Some of what you missed was wonderful and will never happen again. Some of it was frightening. All of it was instructive. Or at least it should have been.
Your life will be easier than mine, but will you be happier? You will be smarter than me, but will you be wiser? You will see things even more incredible than I have, but will they enrich your life as much? You will see more of the secrets of the universe unlocked, but will they bring you closer to God?
Here are some things I pray you don’t miss:
Laughter, tears, adventure, excitement, sunrises, mercy, encouragement, acknowledgement. The love of a good woman. Friendship, forgiveness, success, humility, legacy.
The first day of school. Prom night. A homecoming dance. Graduation day. The mountains, the ocean, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington DC., Disney World (often confused with Washington DC).
The power of prayer. The harmonic beauty of a church hymn sung by a good choir. An intimate relationship with your Creator.
Oh, and one more thing.
Me. Don’t miss out on me. I have so much more to tell you. I’ll be right here when you wake up.