Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grampa Games!

Peter Marshall,the former chaplain to the United States Senate in the 1940s was known among his family and friends as a GGP* (Great Game Player) He loved every board game known to man! His only son loved the fun they had together on the living room rug.

His wife's  biography of his life is entitled A Man Called Peter  Here's an exerpt to give you the flavor of the man!

"Unaware of the previous night's heated dialogue between two senators, Peter Marshall, Chaplain to the U. S. Senate, began the session of April 3, 1947, with this prayer: "Gracious, Father, we, Thy children, so often confused, live at cross-purposes in our central aim, and hence we are at cross-purposes with each other. Take us by the hand and help us see things from Thy viewpoint...."

"As Marshall left the Senate chamber, one of the senators involved in the quarrel followed him and offered the surprised chaplain an apology for his behavior.  This incident encapsulated the nature of the jocular Scotsman's influential ministry. He was straightforward and eminently practical. Supremely, he was led by God's Spirit.

"It was in Atlanta that Marshall met and married Catherine Wood, a student at Agnes Scott College, who later chronicled Marshall's life in her book A Man Called Peter, later made into a successful movie of the same title.

Catherine quickly realized Peter was not a stodgy preacher, but rather had an innate desire for good fun. He loved playing board games and was given the honorary title of G.G.P.—Great Game Player.
She wrote: "The day of our wedding saw a cold rain falling...I gathered Peter was rollicking through successive games of Yacht, Parcheesi, and Rummy with anyone who had sufficient leisure to indulge him. That was all right, but I thought he was carrying it a bit too far, when, thirty minutes before the ceremony, he was so busy pushing his initial advantage in a game of Chinese Checkers with little sister Em, that he still had not dressed."

How I admire folks like the Rev. Marshall who have the patience to play games.

This GiT is NOT a G.G.P.

Fortunately Gramma Rosie is.  She taught both of our kids math using Face Cards and (Gasp) Poker!!!  (Black Jack gave them practice in counting in their heads up to 21)   Math homework for Jeff and Sally was fun--and games, the carefully chosen games make it so.  Of course learning occurs when a caring parent or gramparents stretch the brain with a youngster, but there's even more to be said about the time spent together.

That's the part I missed...the time together.  Adults have a chance to make togetherness fun -- and I was out to be more accomplished.  I've come to believe that nothing can be more beneficial that spending time with a little one with an age appropriate "passed time"  (Poker gave me some concern!  Sorry, I was raised to use other cards like UNO and SKIPBO--but like I said, I had other things to do.

On the news this afternoon there was a sad story about a boyfriend who tortured and sadly killed the young son of his girlfriend.  The gruesome details spilled into our living room and brought tears to our eyes.

Little guys are so precious.  No man in his right mind would ever abuse the trust of a young one.

Chess at the age of about 11 or 12 will engage the mind and gladden the heart when victory is achieved.  Truly good Grampas let the kids win a few before they learn how the game is played and make Grampa work for his victories..

A little pocket set like this one costs a few dollars but pays back many fold in dividends of friendship, love and increased mental acuity.  My first missionary companion in Brazil, Robert Marshall Tanner told me how his father would play chess with him everytime he came home from College to see what he'd learned.  It became an event to look forward to.

Its yet another way for Grampa and Gramkid to bond! JRH

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