Last year, Cindy and I took a wonderful trip to Tanzania—our first trip to the Africa. We came home with lots of impressions and new perspectives, but one of the most striking was seeing small children watching over goats and cattle far from home. It made us think about trusting our grandchildren with bigger projects when they come to visit and want to help.

So during their most recent visit, our 14- and 10-year-old grandsons replaced the kitchen faucet and the workings of a toilet. They began by laying out all of the new parts and reading the instructions. When I asked how they learned to do this, they said that is how the big Lego sets are done: first, sort out all the parts, and then follow the instructions. What a novel idea!

For me, this was one more time when I confronted the limiting interpretations I have about people I think I know—interpretations about what they like or don’t like; interpretations about what they can or can’t do; interpretations about what they think or believe. It was a good reminder of the perspective that I can’t completely know anyone. When I forget that, a large part of what is possible disappears.

If you watch social media, you’ll occasionally find articles that point out what we should never do for our children, such as choosing their friends or doing their homework or speaking for them when someone is interacting with them.

Maybe there could be another long list of things that our children are fully capable of doing if we gave them a chance.

Kids want to contribute to the family, and what a terrific combination—learning something new and contributing at the same time!

Thanks for reading,




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