Article Overview:   What is the key to unlocking a child's mind?   Many answers may rise to the surface, but one that dominates them all is "patience."   The other evening the patience of G-Ma and G-Pa was tested, but the Beast of Terror lost this battle.   Find out how to use patience to become a strong Sentinel of Vigilance with your children, your loved ones, and, most importantly, yourself.


Monday--December 1, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 810
Legos, Grandchildren, And Patience Chase The Beast Away
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Dec. 1, 2003-- Saturday night was sleep-over night for the grandchildren--little Angus, 17 months, Sarah, 5, and Matt, 7.   It was a long night, one full of Legos, Star Wars, and, the ever-present Beast of Terror.
      My wife and I took the three grandkids on Saturday night so our daughter and her husband might have a private, relaxed evening sans the cacophony of three kids. 

     We hauled all the grandchildren goodies up the 59 steps to our fifth floor East Village apartment and unleashed the kids to their secondary playground.   Our apartment is child-friendly, with a room full of toys and a giant television screen to display their favorite children's videos such as Rescue Heroes, Little Bear and Scooby Do.
      Popcorn exploded in the microwave as Angus leaped from the gnarled redwood coffee table onto my expansive gut and Matt and Sarah glued their eyes to Scooby Do adventures.  

 Fast and furious Angus never stopped needing a watchful eye

      G-Ma Lori watched with mother-goose Vigilance the every move of fast and furious Angus, a bundle of muscular energy who never seems to stop exploring or demanding a watchful eye.
      For a moment I forgot about the war in Iraq or the 434 U.S. deaths since November 25, 298 of which occurred as a result of hostile fire, and 136 in non-hostile action.    I didn't have much time to wonder what next "Beast-of-Terror" act would explode onto the television screen or who would slam the next arrow into the heart of Vigilance of a nation locked in a mortal battle with the Beast of Terror's efforts to make the U.S. run with its tail tucked under its legs from the tyranny and oppression of those who seek to revel over blasting American Vigilance policy.
       Grandchildren have a way of forcing one to remember the "prime directive"--to be a loving, caring friend of the child, interested in their whims and concerns, a guide directing them down a circuitous path of life filled with many dead-ends and lined briars and brambles that rip and tear at their nubile flesh.   

My wife and I believe the shaping of kids by concerned parental hands will effect the final products

        I look at the kids as a lump of clay.    Somehow, I believe, as my wife does, that the shaping of that lump by concerned parental hands will have some effect on the final product, will bolster the child to withstand the Beast of Terror's wrath when he hisses upon them his fetid breath putrefied by Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
       As a Grandparent of Vigilance, I look upon the role of Vigilance as helping the children learn the Courage to face their Fears, the Conviction to overcome their Intimidations and, ultimately, to remind the children that their overall goal as  human beings is to not be afraid or hesitant to take the Right Actions in life that benefit the Children's Children's Children--or, more simply put, to be more selfless in their actions than selfish.
       We don't hold classes on this subject--not directly.   It is woven into the thread of our parenting, as it is with countless millions of parents who are more concerned with the future of their children than they are themselves.   Selfish parents tend to think they can buy a child's happiness; selfless ones know they can, at the best, be teachers, models and guides on the child's journey.     

Putting myself in children's shoes means a re-soling of my own shoes

       I don't pretend to be totally selfless.  The best I can attempt is to be at least One Percent more selfless with the grandchildren than selfish.  Like watching Scooby-Do, not one of my favorite television programs, but one that I will force my adult, narrow mind to watch in an effort to learn what makes the children smile, laugh and enjoy.   Putting ones self into a child's shoes means ripping away a lot of old, crusty and often rusty views to receive the messages that make your progeny glow and enjoy the moment.
       Legos is one such instrument.   My wife got Matt the Lego Millennium Falcon mini building set.   It came in two plastic packages, teeming with countless pieces of small plastic parts which, if you carefully followed the directions, could be engineered into a space ship that comes straight from the film Star Wars.

      My grandson and I turned to the project while my wife and Sarah worked on a variety of games that girls enjoy.   Angus shuttled between the living room and the kids room, running up and down the halls like a photon torpedo, reminding us all that whenever he appeared at any docking station his little inquisitive hands would reach for items, or his hungry little mind would want to participate in whatever playtime we were enjoying.
       You learn to adjust to the youngest's demands for attention by reminding the child that this belongs to brother Matt or sister Sarah, or to G-Ma or G-Pa.   Some boundaries are necessary to thwart the every reaching hands that test the limits of the universe's borders.
       Angus is pretty good about borders.   He has learned that certain areas belong to other people and will stand and watch, little fingers tentatively testing the resolve of the Sentinel of Space Vigilance to see if the borders still exist.
       "No, Angus, this is Matt's.  Here, this is yours."
       A wise Grandparent of Vigilance always has Angus toys ready to give to the inquisitive child, to assure the child is not excluded from activity, but at the same time limiting the activity so it doesn't create havoc. 

"G-Pa's teaching me a lesson in patience..." my grandson informed his G-Ma

       Matt, in a rush to put the Millennium Falcon together as swiftly as possible, missed some of the directions and we had to take it apart and then put it back together again.  I reminded him to be "patient" and to "double check" each step so he wouldn't have to backtrack.
        "G-Pa's teaching me a lesson in patience, G-Ma," he said to my wife as she mother-goosed her way behind Angus, double checking on him as he scooted here and there around the small but adventure-laden apartment we habitat.
         I thought about what Matt said.  "A lesson in patience."    Sometimes, we who claim to be Sentinels of Vigilance, forget what we do for a living.  It takes a comment like Matt's to bring us back to center.
         It was more than Matt and I putting together a Lego toy.  It turned out to be a lesson in not being Intimidated by the process.   Matt, who often gets frustrated and irritated if things don't go "perfectly" was calm and relaxed as he dismantled the Falcon mid-way and repaired the mistake in construction.
        Later that night, Angus awoke and decided to go home.   At seventeen months, you just don't open the door and let the little one saying "Mama" waltz down the streets of New York City.    
        From about 1a.m. until 5a.m. Angus decided to test our patience.   Would G-Ma and G-Pa crumble under the pressure of not sleeping, and instead watching a bundle of energy play and explore during the body's prime sleeping hours.   

It was a long night

           It was, without a doubt, a long night.    Angus got milk bottles, juice bottles, rocks, hugs and lots of vain attempts to put him back into a state of somnolence, but to no avail.  His eyes were glued open, his heart beat faster than an hummingbird's, and, his legs propelled him here and there.   Sleep was not on his agenda until, finally five hours later, fatigued, he fell back on the bed and his precious eyes shut for a few hours.
        The next morning we all awoke about the same time, 9a.m.   It was a fun-filled evening for G-Pa and G-Ma.   Our patience with children was tested once more, and we had been victorious.   We both were reminded that the child's world is far different from that of the adults, and what the adult wants to do is often at odds with the child's mission.
       Children want us to be their guides not their wardens.  They also want us to be their friends and not their drill instructors.   They seek us to help them answer puzzling questions but not to give them all the answers, for their minds thrive on the discovery of ideas rather than the shoveling of them down their throats.
        Vigilance with children is an arduous process, one that many parents seem to not have time to endure.    A child tests a parents' patience, for it is often easier to tell them what to do, when to do it, and why they should enjoy what the adult demands of them.

Children teach parents patience by being patient themselves

      Ultimately, this stiffens the child.  It ossifies the mind, makes it brittle.   It stunts the ability of the child to formulate his or her own ability to think, for thinking is about learning how to balance the selfishness with the selflessness.  It's about learning how to listen and then take information and apply it to a result that benefits the most amount of people.
       Matt reminded me about patience, for when he said:  "G-Pa is teaching me a lesson in patience," I realized that Matt was really teaching me how to be patient.  I remembered I wasn't demanding Matt to put the Lego together the way I would, but instead, was suggesting to him a way to do it with the least chance of error, the least frustration.
       Angus also tested our patience.  I thought about the parent who, frustrated with the child's energy, shuts it in a room and yells at it to shut up.  Or the one who might slip some brandy or whiskey in the juice bottle to calm it.  Or, worse, the parent who might shake the child angrily to end the noise of its cries.
       Many children become shells, hiding themselves within their own safety.  They learn not to challenge the parent's patience at the expense of their own self, their own being.   
       I didn't get a chance to write my story on Sunday morning because Matt and I put another Lego mini-model together.  This time, Matt whipped it together without a single error.  He kept checking the directions, going back over each step before moving on to the next. 

To instill patience in a child, you must first manage your own

       "Patience works," G-Pa, he said, holding up the finished product.
      "Yes," I replied.  It really does.
      As a Sentinel of Vigilance, you might consider that patience is the key to unlocking the treasures inside a child's mind.    But, to get to a child's patience, you must first manage your own.    If you take the Pledge of Vigilance and do your best to live by it, you'll find the key to patience locked within it.   And, that one of the finest weapons you can use to keep the Beast of Terror away from you and your child, is patience.



Nov. 29--Bad Santa--A Hollywood Beast Of Terror Movie

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