In this post, I’m pleased to share my tiny little corner on the internet with guest reviewers, Jerry and Linda Mead. Jerry is a retired minister in the PCA, and he and Linda have three adult children, five grandchildren, and one additional grandchild who is currently preparing to make his arrival later this year. I offer their review of Larry McCall’s Grandparenting with Grace: Living the Gospel with the Next Generation here unedited and hope this resource can be useful for many of their peers.
Halloween is an interesting time. Little kids’ eyes begin to glow with the possibility of being able to dress up as their favorite superhero-princess-ninja-pumpkin. Even teenagers start plotting some way to look cool or funny so that they can make the rounds on Halloween night. [One of my daughters and our neighbor have schemed to go as Bob Ross and his painting.] And all of this costume fervor is going on because… candy!
But in the midst of all of this, a huge opportunity went unnoticed for me for years. Regardless of how I felt about the intersection of my Christian convictions and the practices and themes of Halloween, I couldn’t deny the reality that there was an intersection between my front door and many of my neighbors who I would not otherwise be able to meet.
So last year my family started what I hope will become a tradition for years to come. We set up a “Parent’s Survival Station” in our front yard. The neighborhood kids go to my front door where my kids, who can dress up in their own costume, hand out the candy. But my wife and I sit at the table in the front yard and offer bottled water and cups of coffee to the parents. We also set out a pad of paper where I invite people to write down any prayer requests that they might have. I then took what prayer requests we received and worked through them the following day. This survival station was warmly received by the parents (with a few snide requests for tequila shots in years to come), but we got to talk with a few of my neighbors at a more significant level than the hey-how-ya-doin’ level. Who knows where the Lord can take these encounters? At the very least it seems like a great way for us to work on fulfilling the second greatest commandment to “love your neighbor.”
This is not saying that everyone needs to do it the way our family has chosen to do it. But I hope this encourages some folks to see the opportunity that literally comes knocking every October 31st. Take our idea for loving our neighbors and make it your own and make it better for your neighbors.
I’m sure this has left some of my readers with one major concern, so let me calm your fears. Yes, I make sure my kids end up with some candy at the end of the evening. They are a valued and valuable part of this process, and I don’t mind saying ‘thank you’ with a few Three Musketeers and Snickers. Lastly, if anyone reading this shows up at the house on Halloween night I have an apology to make. Sorry, but no tequila shots.