The darkness of WWII raged around him. He was an old man with a million important concerns. He had power and success. He had seen it all. But in 1944, when Winston Churchill came across a young soldier at 10 Downing street assembling a toy train for his grandson, he was transfixed.
As Erik Larson describes it in his fascinating book The Splendid and The Vile (destined to be a book that dads get as a gift), the soldier stopped to salute the prime minister. Churchill waved him away, and stood over him watching. After the soldier had finished, Churchill asked him to see if it worked, and together they watched the train go around the track. “I see you have two engines,” he said. “Put the other one on the track as well.” The soldier who had been bewildered by the whole experience did as he was instructed, but could not have predicted that the next thing he’d witness would be Churchill, the head of the British empire, the man who had stared down Hitler and pulled his country back from the brink, would get down on his hands and knees with a grin and say, “Now, let’s have a crash!”
One of the wonderful things about having kids (and grandkids) is that they allow us to access that childlike part of ourselves that never fully goes away. They give us an excuse to get down on the floor and crash two trains together. To build something cool with LEGOs. To dress up for Halloween. To be silly at a tea party. To listen to the music of our youth, to watch the movies we loved.
It’s more than a fun excuse—it’s an important part of life. Don’t forget to access that joy and fun…and maybe you know, invite your kids to join you in it.