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Post Office Box 15679
Long Beach California, 90815-0679
Phone: (562) 597-8000
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Thankful for the Call to Help

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 23

by Taylor Ramsey

I get the call once in awhile from one of my grandkids asking Papa for help working on a school or craft project and I gladly accept the invitation to help out. I get a big kick out of assisting them in learning how to plan a project, collect the materials needed and then make the plan work.

I am fortunate to have six grandchildren. My two oldest are twin 12-year-old girls who made the first requests for assistance years ago. Assisting the kids with projects seems to be a wonderful task that has fallen on me since the twins were about three years old.

It makes sense in that I was fortunate to be able to assist my own children with projects “out back” when they were young. After my kids became adults they have expressed to me how much they remembered working in the garage with me on projects and the fun we had.

Anyway, when the grandkids show up, we usually put up the big awning in the driveway area out back, set up some sawhorses and place an old beat up piece of plywood on top to use as a table. In the past they have produced solar-powered boats, California missions and one year the twins created a big pedal-powered fire truck for their brother’s Christmas present.

I trust the twins with operating basic power tools and following safety rules which I believe is a very good lesson for life in general. The best part is the interaction that goes on between us during the projects. I tell my own adult children to be careful about what goes on at home, because when we are out back working on projects … kids say “stuff.”

Well, October and Halloween have passed and now we are on to the “holidays.” I very much enjoy Thanksgiving and I always look forward to it. Yesterday, my grandchildren dropped by the house to work on a project for decorating our family’s Thanksgiving table.

I am not sure how the tradition of the children making decorations began, but the kids seem to love decorating our Thanksgiving table with their craftsmanship. It takes a lot of work as our table is usually “tables” because we can have as many as 30-plus people for Thanksgiving dinner.

Yesterday, as we were working on this year’s project I told my twins I was trying to come up with an article using Thanksgiving as the theme and I asked Elizabeth and Kaitlin if they had any ideas. Elizabeth immediately said, “Papa, it is about giving, not receiving.” I smiled at her, stopped working and thought real hard about her remark which then led to a great discussion.

It is not uncommon several times a year to drive by my daughter’s house and find the twins out front with their brother and younger cousins running a lemonade stand. What is wonderful is that they are the ones who decide it is a good idea to operate a lemonade stand so they can give the proceeds to a worthwhile cause. So, it makes so much sense that Elizabeth said “Thanksgiving is about giving, not receiving.”

When you think about it, the media does share the actions of many “givers” over the course of the year highlighting people who have done good things in our community. There are so many unsung champions out there who make a huge difference by “giving” their knowledge, skills, time and resources. I think back to my scoutmaster, who I wrote about in this space in the past, to volunteers in so many worthwhile organizations in our community. Those people give. Life would be so different for all of us and our community if there were no “givers” offering so much for all of us to appreciate.

I believe the main key for a person to be happy in life is to be grateful for all one has. Taking the time to count my blessings always seems to make me feel better. However, after my discussion with my twin granddaughters, Elizabeth and Kaitlin, I realized that being appreciative for all I have is not enough. I should also be grateful for the abilities God has provided me to be able to give.

Well, time to close this up as six grandkids are due over in a few minutes to finish the table decorating project we started out back yesterday. I am so grateful to be able to give them my time and also acknowledge and receive so much wisdom from them.

Thank you kids. Love Papa.