Several years ago when my second son Wade was about 5 years old he and I had an interesting discussion that I was reminded of the other day. I think it is worth sharing. He and I were having a chat about God and the gifts that He graciously bestows on each of us as He directs our purpose here on earth. At the time I was so delighted by the mature insight of my five year old and also brought to tears of laughter by his comments. He told me that he had a pretty good idea what everyone in our family’s gifting was. He stated that his sister had artistic gifts, among may others, that his older brother had the gift of athletics and driving tractors. His father had the gift of work and I the gift of cooking. I asked him what he felt his gifting was and with a deep sigh he looked at me in complete seriousness and said, “Mom, I have the gift of play.” At the time I really thought this statement was not only humorous but potentially challenging for me as a mother when it came time to motivate him later.
It has in fact been the opposite. Little did I know that two years after this conversation, my husband an I would be blessed with another child, a boy, seven years younger than my Wade. Wynn is constantly after his older siblings to “play” with him as he is now six and they are 15, 14 and 13. Wade has assumed the role of his primary playmate over the years and I know that without Wade, my life as a mother would be much more challenging. Wade is using his gift each and everyday to love on his baby brother and he desires nothing more than to care for him in every way.
Additionally, Wade’s “gift of play” has influenced us all as he reminds us of the necessity to stop running and just for a moment, spend some time playing and pretending and dreaming. His gifting is so much more than superficial time with toys. His gifting is the essence of what makes him pure and real and an absolute joy to be around. I have learned through this experience how important all the gifts our children are given make them into the people God would have them become. Most of all I have learned that we are never too old to take a minute out of the busyness of life to play.