I rarely visit any of my grandchildren when this Poppy does not come away with some new life lessons. A few years ago, one of my grandfather therapy sessions (i.e., babysitting) with three of my grandsons provided a prime example of the insights available to anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear.
I discovered that at times we all need a Ninja Zone!
It was 2016, and three of my grandsons, whom I had anointed as The Three Amigos, were ages 4 1/2, 3, and 1. Their unbridled enthusiasm, boundless energy, and endless observations on life always had this Poppy on alert to document the latest utterances coming forth from these juvenile philosophers.
The insights from this latest session were no different. I learned that leopards leap. I was warned that if I ever eat their grandmother Meemo’s peanut butter pancakes, I will want to eat them EVERY morning for breakfast. And after watching the recent movie entitled “The Secret Life of Pets,” my oldest grandson informed me that he had no idea pets had that kind of life. Yet the day’s key learning was that “Shhh, Poppy, we have a Ninja Zone in our home.”
You see, the 4 1/2 and 3-year-olds had created their own Olympic track and field event. Racing a circular route through the kitchen, dining room, living room, and hallway, they streak around the course as superheroes at light-speed or just fast enough to stay out of reach of a much slower Poppy. Unfortunately, when their baby brother is taking his nap in the bedroom just below the dining room, their Olympic speed race sounds more like a thundering herd of elephants. To no one’s surprise, the resident Mother of these three masculine under-the-age-of-five dynamos does not approve of naps being interrupted. This same said Mother often finds creative ways to manage such chaos. Hence the designation of the dining room as a Ninja Zone.
Taking advantage of the boys’ fascination with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, she explained that Ninjas move quietly and softly whenever they enter a Ninja Zone. It is a place of peace and quiet….and to be tread with very soft feet. When I asked the three-year-old to explain what they do in the Ninja Zone, his reply reflected a complete grasp of his Ninja Training. “Poppy, we tiptoe very quietly.”
Watching these boys streak around their self-designed track only to abruptly stop and quietly glide across the dining room, aka Ninja Zone, made me think that maybe the rest of us could benefit from this concept. Whether it is a designated room or merely observing a specific time of silence, taking a break from the busyness of life creates a margin for all of us. Be it for the benefit of others, as in the case of a napping one-year-old brother, or simply to allow oneself a pause to catch a breath or to reflect on life, shouldn’t we all consider creating a designated Ninja Zone?
My own Ninja Zone is a chair on my screened porch. I favor moments in the early morning to read my devotional and say my morning prayers. So whether you call it a Ninja Zone or a Prayer Closet, quiet time can be time well spent. Just as an uninterrupted nap refreshes my youngest grandson, so too does quiet prayer time — beside still waters — restores a soul.
Then maybe we will hear a still small voice inviting us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Where’s your Ninja Zone?