Eli’s Extended Invitations

For the second in what has now officially become a mini-series, today I’m writing about my oldest son. (Reference back a couple weeks to “Appreciating an Andi Antic” for part 1.)

First, you should know Eli has been a very verbal child his whole life. On the day he was born, in the immediate aftermath of awe, amazement, wonder and the overwhelming and awesome realization that we had become parents and were now gifted with, and responsible for, this precious and perfect new little life, in the middle of all of this. he was squeaking and grunting. There were so many noises coming from such a brand new person! I remember thinking, “It’s like he is talking!”

Lo and behold, he has stayed true to form and grown up as a very verbal child, a very competent communicator. Eli loves to ask questions to discover new facts, to clarify points, and to check in with people because he is interested and concerned about them. Just last week, we picked up our sister-in-law for small group in the van. After Christine was settled, Eli craned forward from the back seat and asked, “Hey Christine, how is Zachie (her husband, his uncle, busy that evening coaching tennis) doing in school these days?” Eli genuinely wondered how he was doing and deliberately became a part of the conversation throughout the car.

Besides questions, Eli uses his verbal demeanor to extend invitations. I think perhaps in the whole of his vocabulary, the two most used words are “Hey, let’s…”

Eli loves to start up, repeat, invent, and enjoy experiences of the imaginary, routine, or extraordinary variety. And most of all, he loves to invite others to join in. When Eli says, “Hey let’s…” he is both proposing an idea and extending the invitation for others to fully participate. His invites convey excitement, energy, and inclusion. He’s thinking, not only of what he wants, but what would move everyone into something new, and probably fun or tasty!

Eli makes the Valentine's Day spoon race a little more challenging with extra conversation hearts and arms out finesse.

Eli makes the Valentine’s Day spoon race a little more challenging with extra conversation hearts and arms out finesse.

November 008

Ready to ride a horse this past November! “Hey, let’s ride in the front together Andi”


Some examples of Eli’s “Hey let’s…” invitations:

-all think of a  good April Fool’s idea

-have a little bit of both for dessert

-build a real “ok-go” (our family term for rube goldberg devices)

-count to 100 by 2s- Dad, you go first.

-google who was the first person to dip a cookie in milk

-invite them to eat dinner with us

-build our very own Lego creations for the Lego calendar competition

-do a science experiment tonight after dinner

-find some plastic bags to be our parachutes

-see if Oakley can be the other good guy

– make a real rocket out of this plastic bottle (that he found under the bleachers, last week, at a game, and has kept in his room behind the rocking chair ever since…)

– all pick one comic to read this morning.


When I hear Eli extending one of his invitations, I know a quiet and internal process has taken shape as he hatched the plan in his head, and he is now verbalizing and pitching the idea to others. He’s deliberate in that way and means to make good on the offer for any who will accept his summons!

I appreciate Elijah’s inventive creativity, his constant flow of ideas and thoughts, and his seemingly unbounded imagination- all precious and treasured attributes of what it is to live a robust life as a child. But what I appreciate about the “Let’s” preface is his desire to experience life with other people. Sure, he plays well by himself and isn’t discouraged when we refuse or put off his offer because of our pesky adult schedules or lack of creative imagination, but in his deepest self, he’d love to share whatever it is with others.

In this way, Eli would have gotten along well with Jesus and the cultural norms of the 1st century New Testament world. When Jesus lived, there was very little individuality, instead you were you because of others with whom you associated. Kinship- your family connections, determined religion, vocation, marriages, and political alignments. Instead of choosing for ourselves, pushing for our own agendas, and us all owning our own lawn mowers and washing machines, there was a much bigger sense of shared life back then. Sharing with others today can be inconvenient to us as individuals. Luckily someone like Eli can remind us its worth the challenge to experience the community.

Eli sees the value in not going it alone. He appreciates the creation of something out of nothing, right away, and for the purpose of enjoying the process and the result of said creation with someone else, basically anyone else, who wants in on the adventure. I hope I too can invite others in and look for the “Let’s” of imagination and creativity that make each day a little more meaningful and exciting.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.