The other evening I watched as a father played with his young daughter.
He was kicking and throwing a beach ball to her.
She would run and try to catch it.
On one attempt she fell down and got grass stain on her pants.
Getting up she looked at her pants and then looked at her dad wondering if she was going to get into trouble because her pants got dirty. Her father smiled, looked at her pants and said “grass stain” and threw her the ball. She smiled as she ran to catch it.
I wonder if we focus too much on being clean and neat.
And on proper place.
And proper order.
And coloring inside the lines.
And following all the rules.
Maybe we should teach children to be messy and to learn to deal with the mess.
Grass stain on the knees of your pants.
After all, life is messy.
Growing up is messy.
Learning to love is messy.
Caring about another is messy.
Trying to make a difference is messy.
Addressing issues and solving problems means getting your hands dirty and your too easy responses challenged and standing shoulder to shoulder with those who look different and think differently and who have different backgrounds and customs. Relationships are just the same.
All of which is messy.
He smiled as he shrugged his shoulders.
“Grass stain,” he said as he threw her the ball again.
And smiling, she ran as fast as she could to catch it.
Grass stain and all.