Digging to China

My sister, brother and I


I am always silently thankful when I see a parent explaining something tenderly and patiently to a child instead of demeaning them or yelling at them.  It grieves me when I see adults talking to children in a belittling or humiliating way, in a way that causes the child to lose their confidence.  Don’t get me wrong, I am completely opposed to rebellion from children and wholeheartedly believe that children should be obedient and respectful.  I’m referring to those times when a child is just being a child; they spill something or they ask a simple innocent question; or they can’t sit still for very long.  These aren’t reasons for yelling and screaming and treating them like imbeciles.

When my sister, brother and I were kids, my paternal grandparents lived in a wood frame house, but the support structure underneath wasn’t one huge slab of concrete.  From what I remember they were more like columns of concrete.  It wasn’t on stilts, but it was high enough off the ground that we could crawl under there and sit down very comfortably with plenty of room overhead to spare.   I should know.  My brother, sister and I spent enough time under there playing.  There was some type of lattice around the base of the house and we could look out and spy on people, another favorite past time.  This particular memory took me back to a time when had been outside playing and decided that we could probably dig our way to China if we worked together.

There was a porch by the back door and we would get under there to hide while playing hide and seek or to make mud pies, or if we were hiding a new stray kitten from Poppy.  We had noticed that we could keep crawling and get to a rather large (or so it seemed at the time) area near the front/center of the house.  This is where we decided to begin digging.  I can still remember the smell of dirt and the musty, dark, coolness under the house.

Now, before you ask why in the world we would go under a house to dig to China, please remember we were quite young.  However, we also felt we wouldn’t be discovered this way so we could dig to our hearts content without getting into trouble.  We lived in a very safe neighborhood and had free rein to run all over the place so we knew granny wouldn’t come looking for us for quite some time.

We began to dig with our spoons, sticks, toy shovels and we may have even found an adult size shovel in the backyard.  We dug until we were filthy and bored with it and then went on about our business doing something else.  I don’t remember how many days we continued to pursue our efforts, but we were bound and determined.  I’m not sure how we thought we would communicate if and when we got there.

If my memory serves me correct, as the event loomed ever closer (reaching China, of course), we finally ended up nearly bursting with excitement and had to tell granny about our wonderful plan.  If you’ve read prior blogs about my granny, you will understand why it was so easy to tell her and then so natural for her to insist on coming under the house to inspect our project.  Granny never yelled.  She never told us that our ideas were ludicrous or made us feel stupid in any way.  She merely explained that it was more likely for the house to cave in than it was for us to reach China.  And she explained it in such a funny, simple way that it all made sense and somehow we ended up almost feeling like it was our decision to stop the excavation.  Thus, it became a sweet memory and not one filled with shame and embarrassment.

I’m thankful for the adults in my life that took time to explain things and showed me so much love.  There was the occasional offender but for the most part I was very blessed to be surrounded by loving, compassionate, kind people;  the type of people who saw the innocence and joy in the eyes of a child and wanted to bring their dreams to life instead of raining on their parade.  Praise and encouragement really should be lavished whenever possible, especially on children.


  1. Candy Powell says:

    Lisa, you right such beautiful stories. I enjoy reading them. Thank you.

  2. deanna grimm says:

    I remember this story like it was yesterday sissy! Its funny, when I read the title, that story immediately came to mind. Great one! And yes, I must agree, we have had a very blessed childhood, and the BEST Granny in the world!

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