Some kids in my neighborhood are building this tree house. Scrap wood and duct tape. And probably a handful of nails.
When I was maybe 10 or 11, some friends and I built a tree house in "The Big Old Hickory Tree." As best as I can remember the tree was a thousand feet tall and we built our tree house about 900 feet up in the air.
We scavenged through contrusction sites and garages to find the wood. We hammered steps into the trunk, carefully using at least two nails for each step. Somehow we got the larger pieces of wood up the 900 (or maybe 9) feet to the "perfect place."
After a handful of long summer mornings, (because the afternoons were reserved for swimming) we finished the up-to-fifth-or-sixth-grade-codes and scrambled up to the top.
As best as I can remember, there was never a parental visit to the job site. Just me and Mark Conley and David Bell and Michael Pfeiffer and some scrap wood and bent nails and a big tree.
What were our parents thinking...
I guess they were letting us be kids. And probably watching from much closer than I realized.
It is hard sometimes to give the girls boundaries. To know when to let them stretch and when to hold them close. When to let them build a tree house in a too tall tree and when to suggest a shorter tree.
I guess parenting us really much more of an art than science. Cause the science part would say "there is no way you and a bunch of knucklehead friends are going to build a tree house made out of scrap wood half way up to the sky." And the art part says, "what would (or could) happen if they did?"
Going through some items from a book proposal I am cleaning up - and frankly is very late to the pubslisher who requested it...
Not long ago my middle daughter Kenzo and I were out running down a list of Saturday errands. A long morning of going from warehouse to superstore to megaplex left us tired and hungry so we decided to stop at the A&W for some lunch. Stepping up to the shiny chrome counter,Kenzie asked for a moderately healthy sandwich (to please her Mom) a root beer float (to please her Dad) and an extra large tub of mashed potatoes (to please herself.)
We got our food from the cheery employee in the orange apron and then carried our orange tray over to one of the shiny orange booths.Kenzie was so famished that she could barely sit down before she was ripping open the hermetically sealed plastic bag to free the utensils necessary to gobble down her lunch.
Now Kenzo is a child of plans and process and so accordingly she was very clear in her lunchtime objective.Before she would even consider messing with the sandwich or the root beer float she would quickly snarf down every last morsel of the mashed potatoes. There was just one small problem with this plan. The A&W standard-issue plastic bag did not contain “utensils; rather it held just a singular “utensil.” A Spork.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Spork, it is the ubiquitous spoon-fork combination, easily one of the 20thcentury’s greatest advancements in plastic cutlery. This multi-functional tool not only saves the food service industry trillions of dollars annually in reduced cutlery costs, it is also no doubt preventing countless landfills across this great nation of ours from being overrun with discarded plastic spoons and/or forks.
One can only imagine the incredible savings, both in landfill space and food company dollars, if the historically closed-minded fast food service industry were open to increased utilization of the Spork’s sister products; the Spife and the Knork.
Meanwhile back at the big orange booth Kenzo’s determined quest for mass quantities of mashed potatoes would not deterred by the lack of appropriate utensils. Throwing caution to the wind, she jumped right in and quickly turned the super size spud tub into a nearly empty potato trough. With Spork firmly in hand, she readied herself to gather up the last remnants clinging to the edge of the Styrofoam bowl. This last trip around the bottom of the bowl was to be her lunchtime victory lap.
Suddenly, a grimace.
“Daddy, I can’t get all the mashed potatoes with this thingy. It’s not fair. There’s still some more potatoes at the bottom I can’t get with this…this…uh…”
“Spork” I said.
“Whatever,” she said. “It’s still not fair.”
Now had we been at home, or perhaps if the A&W would have been just a bit less crowded, I would have allowed, nay, encouraged Kenzo to simply reach down into the container with her index finger and scrape out the rest of the potatoes. But public decorum, plus the fact that one of my wife’s good friends was sitting across the aisle from us, precluded that from happening .
It was “Mano v. Sporko,” and the utensil held the upper hand.
Her refrain of “It’s not fair” echoed through my head. I had to admit that I agreed. The Spork, which by virtue of its nefarious spoon-fork design precludes gathering the last bit of mashed potatoes or anything else for that matter, is inherently “not fair.” Especially “not fair” when you’re five and your favorite food in the whole world is mashed potatoes.
I gave a quick thought to launching a national “Fairness to Five Year Olds” campaign to bring national attention to this Spork travesty. We could organize a march on
to bring attention to the plight of spud-loving kids, or maybe we could have public service announcements showing rows and rows of kids sitting dejectedly at A&W booths, crying in their potatoes. But even if we were to be successful in this venture and get some sort of concession and corporate pledge for “cutlery inclusiveness” from the up-the-food-chain muckety-mucks at A&W I know that it would be just a matter of time before Kenzo stumbles across another of the inequities in life. As long as man has inhabited planet Earth, there has been the “Spork Inequity.”
As adults we have all discovered, perhaps painfully at times, that life is not always fair. This is true in both the big things of life and with plastic cutlery. In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
His promise is simple. Even though things in life can be hard or seem unfair at times, Jesus bids us remember that He is still the God of the universe and the Creator of everything (Spork included.) He will always take care of us, He will always provide, and He will always be fair. I suppose that the hard part comes in that beginning to understand that our concept of fairness is not always the same as God’s. I would guess that it has something to do with perspective and time.
As we finished lunch, I was hopeful that the disappointment of the Spork would pass quickly.
Turns out it only took about 60 seconds.
As we passed though the bright orange doors on our way to the car Kenzo said, “Dad, before we go run any more errands can we stop for some ice cream?”
“ Sure honey, are you still hungry?”
“Maybe a little bit,” she replied.“But mostly I want to get an ice cream cone and be able to eat the whole thing.”
This is the best day ever on this blog, because today Kenzo put together this super-cool header at the top of the blog.
See look up there...just a few inches above where you are looking right now.
Kenzo did that.
Isn't she awesome?
A few nights back, my eleven-year-old asked me what picture I wanted to use and then disappeared to a computer. A short while later she had snipped and cut and colored and moved and created and re-created the amazing banner at the top. Tonight she put it in place.
And the technology didn't totally cooperate. When she tried ot make the image bigger, the space got smaller, when she tried to reduce the size to make it fit, the space got bigger. And so she figured out a way to add some color at the edges until she can conquer the sizing issue some day soon.
But until then, I am completely thrilled with my new super-cool banner, produced by Kenzo the Magnificent.
You get a whole different sense of the child and level of intersection that is not possible in the typical AtwoodZoo mob sessions. So a couple of times each month I try to do something with each of them by themselves. Or as Suzie says "no sisters."
Last night Mabel and I went one-on-one at the Vandy women's basketball game. we were up waaaayyy past bedtime, but thought "hey it's Thursday, how likely is she to fail the 4th grade cause we were up too late one night in February."
So if she does in fact fail the 4th grade I'll maybe have a different memories about the game, but for right now the memories are Great game. Great seats. Great popcorn. Great cotton candy. Great fun.
"We have a hard waiting for God to fulfill His promise. But what about Abraham and Sarah? They had to wait 15 years before Isaac was born. We have a hard time suffering for a season. But what about the invalid in John 5 who was in that condition for 38 years. And that's when the average lifespan was 20-30. We have a hard time waiting for God to make sense of our circumstances. But what about Joseph? He was a slave and a prisoner for 17 years before becoming Prime Minister of Egypt. Or Moses? He was a fugitive for 40 years! And we have a hard time waiting to fulfill our calling. But even Jesus didn't transition from carpentry to ministry til he was 30."