As I wove through the neighborhood streets, my trailer of junk in tow, I spied a little town, sitting proudly on top of a large appliance cardboard box.
It’s position of prominence on top of this curbside pile of garbage seemed to belie the importance it once held to it’s owner. As if that someone was beckoning for this Little Town to be loved again. To be played with again. To be brought out of the attic where it had been collecting dust, and placed where childlike eyes could enjoy it’s details.
Someone, in years gone by, had spent a lot of time painstakingly creating each little building, naming many of them to represent what each flourishing small town should contain, for success.
There’s four houses, a blacksmith shop, livery stables, a hotel, a store, shed, lumber yard, cement, and a “Tell”, which I honestly don’t know know the meaning of. The entire town is circled with a railroad track made of glued string and pencil-drawn tracks, with the painted silver and sand streets creating a gridwork in between.
The most unique feature is definitely the water tower, with it’s splayed legs, domed top, climbing ladder, and string pull.
I’ve been trying to guess in what era this playscape was created? My mind wonders if it was made by a dad for his two little boys to sit on either side and drive their toy cars, whiling away long rainy afternoons inside, or was it made by a loving grandpa at his basement workbench?
It was definitely loved by it’s creator, because no detail was left out of this little community. Even blue paint creates a water source in one corner.
But the feature I’ve spent the most time thinking about is what’s at the center of this Little Town:
It’s painted a special color, so it stands out from all the other buildings. It’s closest to the houses, and the other buildings are farther out on the perimeter.
And call me old fashioned (which I happily claim), but my heart grieves that faith is no longer the center of our lives, of our communities, of our towns.
The center has been replaced with leisure, entertainment, sports, work.
And I think we’ve lost something, something big.
I realized one of the best things we’ve given to our now, almost-grown kids is the gift of commitment to weekly church attendance. Our actions have spoken louder than our words.
That in the busyness of life, going to a holy place filled with faithful people to hear God’s Word taught, and to worship together is a priority that comes before anything else. Placing that commitment first, and letting everything else fall into place after has created a strong foundation for our daily lives. It has been a safety net to fall into when we are knocked down by life. It has placed loving mentors in my children’s lives that have impacted them beyond our parental influence.
And not only attending and being a bench warmer, but being involved as parents in many aspects, has encouraged our kids to use their gifts and talents also, which has grown their faith and commitment.
What are our actions preaching to our kids?
Something we as parents can think on, and maybe even society as a whole; a larger version of the Little Town.
” And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24, 25 NIV