Frank Schaeffer, Cycle of Life, and What Matters

“See, I will listen to Dad,” said the pediatrician as she put her stethoscope to my chest. She did not know I am Grandpa, not Dad.

Generally my weekly schedule is flexible. Should Kimberly or Tommie need me to go with them and one of the Grands to their pediatrician appointment, I can get away. Call it a perk.

Wednesday, Cohen began running fever again and the pediatrician suggested they check to see if his ear infection persisted. It had. A new bout of antibiotics were issued. I could not help but remember when his mother faced those irritable ears. We would go to her pediatrician. “Yes, another infection.” We would pay for the office visit and collect another prescription of amoxicillin. Back than the two expenses would take a Benjamin – $100. Rick, my mentor, had been through the same with his children. He decided there may be another way to cure the pain of an ear infection. He suggested we lay a child on the couch and wave a $100 bill over them. It seemed reasonable since it took $100 to address the situation. We would cure the child and keep the bill. No, it did not work. We did not even try. Their ears were too important for us to be so cavalier.

Frank Schaeffer wrote a piece for The Huffington Post on Wednesday. I clipped it to read later. After watering the flower beds this morning I sat down to post a Friday Photo piece. Working through some photos from our July 4th here at the house I thought I would pause to read Schaeffer’s post. The title was enough to catch my attention, “The Real Biological Clock Is Bigger Than Asking ‘When to Have a Child?‘ Here are the first lines, for those who have not clicked over to read. More after you make the jump.

Love is the only path to immortality. And love has a name: Grandchildren. Everything else is just a footnote.

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“Let’s Get This Started” – Copyright 2013, Todd A. Littleton

You guessed it, the photos I planned to post would be of Cohen and Max. I decided to post a bit more than the normal Friday Photo. I thought about how many times I get, “You don’t look old enough to be a grandpa.” Sometimes I am flattered. More than once I reply by saying that we were fourteen when we began having children. Might be true several thousand years ago. Even in the late 1970’s we would have been stigmatized rolling a stroller around.

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“Long Hot Day” – Copyright 2013, Todd A. Littleton

The truth is we were 22, well I would be less than a month after Kimberly was born. Even at that, reading Schaeffer’s article points to the false perception that parents know more later than sooner. The question is, “What more do they know about?”

Frank does not suggest those waiting to have children in order to pursue education and career are dumb. He simply suggests that there may be an underlying impulse of which they are unaware; a cultural influence so intertwined in our lives that we miss it. You may deny the subtle forces of the economy but read through Schaeffer’s piece again and you cannot escape that he attempts to rupture the notion of what we need. In the end he claims we need to create beauty, love, and peace. That, he believes, is found in what we invest in others, especially our grandchildren.

What I like about Schaeffer’s piece is that he does not make the matter a moral choice – children early or late. That would only serve to feed the ego of one or the other. “You should have waited.” Or, “You should have started sooner.” No, the underlying issue is how we promote community and continue to invest in others despite economic forces that lead us to believe what matters is what we make, what we achieve, and how we are perceived. All of us, early age parents or older age parents, need to remember what really matters are people in whom we invest.

We plan to see the Grands today.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.