(Over the past two weeks, my tiny family has been through seismic events, including the near death of my mother. While God chose to give my mom more time on this earth, things looked very different just a few short days ago. As I prepared to say farewell to my mom, I kept thinking of my children and how they would remember her. What sweet timing to read “Legacy of a Grandfather” by Barbara Deatherage. In this post from her personal blog, she eloquently expresses what every parent hopes to have in a grandparent for their own children, and the tangible impact a grandparent can have on younger generations. Thank you, Barbara, for sharing this wisdom for grandparents. ~Gabbie)
Yesterday, I went to the memorial service of a man in our church community. I thought I was going to support his widow who has been an amazing encouragement to me for the past fifteen years, but I was wrong. God sent me to that memorial service to show me what a grandparent can and should be. The man was 79 years old and the grandfather of seven grandchildren. One of his grandsons came to the podium to give the family message. His simple, hesitating, sometimes tearful words revealed a man who knew that being a grandfather was more than biology but that it was a calling from his God.
This wonderful man had fulfilled his calling by giving his grandchildren three things:
His grandchildren knew that he was always there for them. From his grandson’s words, we could all tell that there was never a time when his grandkids even considered that their grandfather would not have time to listen to them or to play with them, to read to them, to come to their sports activities, to watch them in the school play, or to go to church with them.
The years of grandparenting, often the years of retirement, are not the years to claim as our own—not when a brand new generation is growing up in front of us, needing the extra time we now have.
This grandfather had given his grandchildren the great gift of his time.
Over and over again, the grandson spoke of his grandfather’s firm faith and integrity. He knew what he believed. He knew right from wrong. And he was willing to stand up for his beliefs; his grandchildren had seen him do it.
A great deal changes in 79 years. Changing culture hammers at our beliefs, trying to chip away at them, to slowly erode and change them. I’m sure that at least one of those seven grandchildren challenged the beliefs of their grandfather with opposing ideas they had heard at school or from their friends. However, the example this grandfather left his family was that you must stand firm in your beliefs, and you must stand up for the right regardless of what others around you say or do.
He gave his grandchildren the example of a man who would stand for the truth.
The grandson alluded to a recent time when he and his girlfriend were invited to visit his grandfather, and the older man called the younger man aside apparently to give some advice. About dating? About the girlfriend? About how to treat a lady? I can only imagine that this grandfather took the time to observe his grandchild and knew when it was time to share some wisdom with him.
To lovingly observe and to gently share wisdom when appropriate—such a gift this grandfather gave to the next generation of his family. We give our grandchildren many gifts—dolls, toy trucks, bikes, skateboards…but what about the gifts of time, example, and wisdom? They are not cheap gifts; they come at the cost of our newly earned free time, but could we regret it for a legacy of believing grandchildren?
More than once, the grandson called his grandfather a good man, a great man. What a legacy this grandfather left for his family!
Today’s post is written by Barbara Deatherage, elementary ministry coordinator at Stonebriar Community Church. You are invited to read more from Barbara on her personal blog, Worth Doing Poorly. This post originally appeared on February 2, 2016.
We would love to have you join more parents for daily discussion on our closed Facebook page HERE.