This bucolic scene brings Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to mind with an aura of summer adventures, packs of boys inventing their days as pirates, explorers, or Indian scouts. It also brings a sensation of deja vu, of having been there or done this before. Only back then it was with three of my own little boys, discovering the world, building sand castles, trying to dam up streams, designing the ideal tree house. It was a challenge to keep up with their energy, with their curiosity and their adventurous, fearless natures. What a blessing that was! What a dear time!
Another blessing shared with many grandparents is the sheer pleasure of watching your child become a parent, seeing a son or daughter transformed into the total giver every good parent has to become. Many have agreed with me that within two generations, the level of involvement of fathers in the lives of their children has increased dramatically. Some of this has happened of necessity and two working parents became the norm to support a family and share in the work of raising children. But something else has also been at work here. The women's liberation movement has also liberated men to the point that it is now perfectly acceptable for a young father and husband to change a diaper, shop with babies and toddlers along for the educational experience and to be engaged with their children to an extent not often seen only 40 to 50 years ago.