As I struggled to wake up my sleepyhead for school this morning, I wondered how my parents ever got three kids out the door ages 2, 3, 4 (they both worked). Then I had a marvelous flashback: Dad humming his way into our room (always the same song, “Rise and Shine and Give God Your Glory, Glory, Children of the Lord” from the least religious man you’ve ever met) and popping a sugar cube into our mouths. A sugar cube!

I can’t even imagine giving Hugh a sugar cube. Tasha and I debate the merits of juice boxes and studiously examine the amount of sugar in fruit snacks and organic milk. I felt a sudden and welcoming rush of perspective.

It’s so easy to overthink this whole parenting thing. The daily minituae of my worries – is he eating enough vegetables? is he sleeping enough? why does his stomach always hurt? shouldn’t he know how to put on his own shoes already? – easily overwhelms the big picture truth which is that at the end of the day, it takes a lot to ruin a kid. And just a few things to raise them up right: love, shelter, encouragement.

We would never even think of waking up our child with a mouthful of sugar. My parents never would have let us go down the Illinois River by ourselves for six weeks when we were 9 and 10 (which is what Dad’s parents let them do). But here we and they are . Me, with no cavities. And my dad, with a wonderful boat.

So as each generation of parents become more of well…wusses, let us remember and sing this refrain (with or without sugar in your mouth):

The sun came out and
It dried up the landy landy
The sun came out and
It dried up the landy landy
Everything was fine and dandy, dandy
Children of the Lord.

Hugh and Grandpa

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