Middle Child Surprise!

We’re a little blurry-eyed today coming off three days and two nights of sitting our four local grands! Don’t misunderstand me. They are great kids between sixteen and eight years old! We love each of them dearly. But, like many their age, the youthful energy levels and summer schedules don’t match the more laidback and senior adult lifestyle of their grandparents! 😊

Charlie on the job!
What's that in your jaw?😂
One of the things I enjoyed most about having them under my roof for a few days is that I got that informal one-on-one time with each of them. I am amazed at how quickly they are growing up and how much more mature and perceptive they are becoming. These past brief days have flown by and once again, have left us with many cherished memories. We ate at the same table, went to ballgames and the park, watched television, visited the coffee shop and snow cone stand, and just enjoyed hanging out together! Fun!

As you already know, I am a shamelessly doting grandfather! I pray for these grands everyday and try to be involved with them at various levels. Yet, it surprises me when I see glimpses into their Divine Design that I had not noticed beforehand. One example of this awakening in their giftedness and personality occurred this time as we made a couple of trips to the local ballparks.

"Don't touch the equipment!"
Charlie, our ten-year-old middle child, is third of four in the sibling birth order, but notably, he is the second boy and precisely in the middle of the guys! His older sports-minded brother is thirteen and the younger one is a precocious eight! Charles William is known by his family and friends as Charles, Charlie, or Chuck! He is a delight and loves serving others with his culinary skills (possesses his own seasoned iron skillet!) and is always ready to support others anyway he can. In every sense of the word, Charlie is a born servant!

One job that revs Charlie’s engine these summer days is serving as the disc jockey guy who plays the “walk-up songs” at games for his older brother’s baseball team. He has shown aptitude for this team and a crowd favorite part of the nighttime entertainment. As the batters approach the plate, Charlie is already playing the player chosen walk-up selections. I have observed how the batters seem to strut to their side of the plate with more pride and to the shouts of cheering encouragement from the crowd!

Charlie uses the family’s portable sound system with great skill and care. He also utilizes his own smart phone to make the selections in sync with the system’s Bluetooth capabilities. I chuckled (pun intended!) each evening as I watched in amazement as our beloved DJ, Chuck “Carey,” managed his assignment with such precision and dexterity! I am bragging, but no kidding, Charlie has a gift for this!

Behavioral scientists, who study birth order, will tell you that the second born child can act out in rebellion about the over-attention that parents often give to the firstborn of the family. But the second-borns are also known as the kids who prize and champion their siblings from older to younger. The middle child is often the peacemaker, the most sociable, friendly, and nurturing in the family. I have often said, as the oldest in my family, that middle children are the most well-adjusted of us all! I needed this adjustment and married a second-born!

There are some notable second-born individuals in the Scriptures. Moses was Aaron’s younger brother by three years and Peter was the younger brother of Andrew. Moses distinguished himself by his service and meekness. Peter was impetuous, but was strong in his convictions and service for Christ. In the minds of many, Peter’s influence is second only to Paul’s impact for the gospel and the cause of Christ. Peter resourced Mark in his gospel account and wrote two of his own epistles in the Scriptures.

One of my favorite narrative accounts in the Bible is recorded early in the Book of Acts. You see Peter in action in this passage as he stubbornly shows his commitment to Christ. He firmly stands against the religious establishment of the day as they criticized him and tried to throttle back his witness for Christ. Peter with John. the younger brother of James (another second born!), by his side, bravely and boldly declares, “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. As for us, there’s no question – we can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20, The Message).

You don’t need a portable speaker to make some “walk up noise” about Jesus! Rather, just look for your opportunity to make a difference and trust God for the courage and boldness to speak up for Him. He will give His presence, power, and the words to speak… just when you need it!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com
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