Friday, April 23, 2010

Grampa's Search for Peace

At the dedication of the Salt Lake Theater in 1862, Brigham Young gave his views on the theater. He explained why he did not allow the great tragedies performed on his pioneer Mormon stage. "We have plenty of tragedy all around us-- Comedy! We need more comedy!"

Brother Brigham and his church leadership built the Salt Lake Theater as the first permanent structure in the Utah Frontier--long before the sacred Salt Lake Temple was complete more than thirty later in1893.

In 2007 the New Scientist reported that " By the time the average U.S. child starts elementary school he or she will have seen 8,000 murders and 100,00 acts of violence on TV." If there's a better way to make the case for peaceful parents and gramparents, I don't know it.

The prophet Abinadi taught, …How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace! (Mosiah 15:16) Parents and Gramparents are the publishers of peace as they send peaceful children into the world to set good examples, make friends and build faith in themselves and others.

Writers and producers are working cleverly to outdo themselves in the unique ways to portray the taking of human life sometimes with drama, often with music--and in recent witty comedies in the "Thin Man" tradition like ABC's CASTLE!

One Grampa told a group of older men last week at church that his taste in music has gradually changed from the Rock and Roll of the sixties to the soothing choral masterpieces with full orchestra accompaninent of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Music does much to bring Peace to Grampa. I've found relaxation and a good measure of peace in the quiet jazz of George Shearing's piano and Wes Montgomery's guitar.

And why is peace so important for a Grampa?

That peace transmits to gramchildren in ways that are remembered for decades.

At this writing, Gramma Rosie and I are slowly recovering from a two day trip up in Wyoming to gather with our family and remember the quiet life of a great woman -- my mother Delma Isabella Hunt Howe. The inspiration for this post came as I met a remarkable toddler named Tucker Howe. This little blond kid never cried. He smiled, gurgled, cooed, opened his mouth and imitated adult speech with a Ya ya ya ya and a smile. He looks like a little cupie doll. Agree?

Good natured babies are quite rare. Some believe they come that way. I believe that the environment encourages native tendencies. If Grampa's want to influence world peace, they can do it by helping their grambabies model peaceful life one child at a time.

I think I've figured out why Tucker is such a peaceful kid! At the couple of dinners and a breakfast we enjoyed at my brother Grampa Roger's home with his wife, Granny Sue I noticed a parenting experience that I commend to every Grampa who reads this post. Grambabies (they have three) are always welcome in their home. While we were there over two days, the little toys and plastic shapes were scattered over the living room rug and stuck to the bottom of the refrigerator were left there as an open invitation to the pint size kids to come back again and again. A little mess for a reason is a good thing.

Then Elder Boyd K. Packer said, "We have maintained an area (sometimes it’s the corner of a basement room) where there is a work bench, where projects could be left. There can be some paint or a little sawdust on the floor, without a problem. In spite of continuous cleanup, this area is perpetually untidy, but with a purpose." There's something special about a gramparent's home where the blocks you left a week before are right where you left them when you come back!

Now, here's the calming peaceful lesson. While some parents use the occasion of visiting relatives to show off their precocious heirs like trained dogs--Tucker's mom and dad, Leslie and Matt just sat on the kitchen floor and clapped when Tucker rearranged the shapes on the refrigerator. Their focus was gently on their son. A peace flowed between them. All us, visitors and stranger-relatives in the house were gently out of focus to this happy parent child combination. I marveled at the peace of the situation. Tucker is so good natured and at peace because his parents are too. JRH

Any Grampa who can develop that kind of low key trust with a gramchild can make a double contribution to world peace--his own for doing it--and his child's for the memory of love and caring. JRH

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