For those of you who are grandparents, you know what a constant joy it is to watch your grandchildren grow up. And you cherish every endearing thing they say or do. So please indulge me in sharing something special that my two years, eight months old grandson James Isaac Rankin said last week. Believe it or not, I think it has great value for all of us, and that's why I am devoting this blog post to it. And, yes, I admit that I am a doting grandfather.
Here is some necessary background. My son Isaac (Gaston Day Class of 2007) and daughter-in-law Becca are parents of our only grandson James Isaac. Happily, Becca is expecting another boy in August. So James Isaac has a baby brother on the way. Becca is a wonderful mother who balances love with a no nonsense attitude that keeps James Isaac--who is mischievous--in line. One of her favorite sayings when she wants James Isaac to pitch in and clean up a mess he has made--when his toys are scattered all over the floor or there is a messy table that needs to be cleaned up--is "Teamwork makes the dream work." This is Becca's shorthand slogan for letting James Isaac know that everybody in the family is expected to do their part. That many hands make light work. That we are all in this together and everyone needs to contribute. What a wonderful, brief proverb that captures so much in so few words about how success and happiness depend on each of us doing our part. "Teamwork makes the dream work!!" gets said often in Isaac and Becca's household.
Recently, father Isaac and son James Isaac have been trying to help out even more around the house because mother Becca is almost six-months pregnant. In particular, they have been picking up a lot of takeout meals from local restaurants so Becca won't have to prepare them at home. Last week the dynamic duo of Rankin men went to a local barbecue restaurant to do just that. Because Isaac cannot leave James Isaac in his car seat while he goes into the restaurant to pick up the food and pay for it, both of them have to put on their masks and go into the restaurant together. Like all of us, James Isaac does not like wearing his mask. So after they parked at the barbecue joint and were ready to go into the restaurant, Isaac turned to James Isaac in the back seat and explained that he had to put on his mask, that it was important to do so, and that he really needed him to cooperate even though it was no fun wearing a mask.
After making his speech, Isaac asked the all important question, "James Isaac, do you understand me and will you wear your mask?" James Isaac smiled, looked at his Dad, and replied simply, "Teamwork makes the dream work." This absolutely cracked his father up because Isaac had no idea that young James Isaac had actually internalized and understood what his mother had been telling him so often at home. But he had!! James Isaac already understands that everybody has to pitch in and do their part, even when it isn't always fun to do so, in order to make good things happen.
The more I have thought about this, the more convinced I am that "Teamwork makes the dream work." is one of the keys to a good life and to building a good community. It says so much that is wise and true in so few words. Accomplishing good things requires all of us sacrificing and working together toward a common goal, whether that is picking up a barbecue dinner or our toys or playing on an athletic team together or working on a group science project.
If James Isaac will always remember that "Teamwork makes the dream work" then he is going to make everything he does better.