“You have a WHAT? Did you say, ‘BOY-friend’?”
The questions may have contained sincere surprise or mock shock; there may have been slight variation in the wording; but the response to K.G.’s announcement was, basically, the same whether posed by parent or grandparent.
True, she had confessed to giving every boy in her preschool class a harmless kiss, when she was 4; but, at the age of 7, our second grade, precious granddaughter was claiming that she had narrowed the field to one special boy. So her mom began questioning her regarding her romantic interest.
His name is Declan, a first grader, a younger man. They play together at recess. She waits in the hall for him before recess, separated from her class, with teacher’s permission. They have exchanged hand-made gifts - nothing store-bought...yet.
In answer to the question of why him? She answered simply, “Because he’s kind.”
Perhaps you will acknowledge, with me, that being kind does go a long way.
Unlike her cousin, Anderson, same age, who has had Piper for his girlfriend for as long as either of them can remember anything, K.G.’s and Declan’s is a budding relationship. When we first heard about it, Sammie and I quizzed her on the phone.
“So, Katie Grace, what do you and Declan have in common?”
She pondered the question for a few seconds. Maybe she hadn’t given too much thought to that issue. Then she answered, with confidence, “Well, we go to the same school, we have the same kind of iPad, and we both like to play basketball.”
Hey, those things are important. Right?
The real clincher, about whether or not this is the real thing, came one night when it was bedtime. Instead of making excuses to stay up a little longer, she told her daddy, “I can’t wait to go to sleep tonight!”
“...and why is that?”
“So I can dream about Declan.”
If she weren’t so stinking cute, we’d all roll our eyes in unison.
At least the young love birds haven’t kissed yet. K.G.’s mom asked her, and Shannon is convinced her daughter would have confessed if they had kissed. After all, she did admit to kissing all the boys in her class, when she was 4...didn’t she?
So what’s the point of this story?
For one thing, it’s a reminder that we all go through phases and degrees in our love life. For a second grader - or first grader - a boyfriend or girlfriend may be an object of love but not to the degree of a parent or grandparent - or maybe even “Snoopy.” Someday a romantic love will be much deeper.
I Corinthians 13 says much about true love, the self-sacrificing kind. Paul also says, in that chapter: “When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I gave up childish ways.”
A second lesson to be learned is that all sorts of human love pale in comparison to the love of God.
Faith and hope are great and so is human love, but God’s love is the greatest. Perhaps we have lived many more years than K.G. Perhaps we have given our lives and our love to others; still, we have much to learn about the depth of God’s love. One day, we will see His scars, and we will know as we are known. Then we will understand His great love for us.
Steve Playl, a retired pastor, chaplain, columnist, and college instructor, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org