Jump Start # 3045
Proverbs 13:22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”
Last week we had one of our grandchildren with us. “B” is seven, or in her words, “seven and a half, almost eight.” She spent four nights with us. That’s the longest we have had one of the grandkids by themselves. And, she was a delight and a doll. On one of our trips into town, she said, “PJ (that’s me), it’s been a long time since you had a seven and a half year-old in your backseat, isn’t it?” And, she’s right. All my kids are in their 30’s now. It’s been a long time since I had a seven year old in my backseat. On our trip to meet her mother to return her, we spent a long time playing verbal games in the car. I’d say a book of the Bible and she had to say the next one. We played guessing games. We went through some of her multiplication tables, especially the 7’s.
And, here are a few lessons I learned:
First, grandparenting is fun. Sometimes as a parent, you are in the middle of constant messes, battles, instructions and there never seems to be an end. But my little car ride with B reminded me of the things I once did with her mother, my daughter. Lots of questions. Lots of little quizzes. Lots of exploring things with our imaginations. As your kids age, much of those sweet innocent things are no longer used. One forgets what it is like to have a seven, or more accurately, a seven and a half year-old in the backseat.
Second, there is a lot of teasing about grandparents spoiling their grandkids. I understand. I’m all for that. I have a case where I keep some of my cufflinks. Often I don’t arrange them as they should be. That’s the job B does when she visits. I pay her to do that. I pay her way too much, but I like doing that. I believe one reason grandparents spoil is that they can. Money is tight when the kids were small. Something was always breaking and needing replaced. Someone was always going to the doctor. Glasses. Braces. Clothes. The budget was very thin during those days.
But another reason I believe we spoil is that as a parent there is such an unknown. Parenting isn’t for cowards. But as grandparents, we’ve gotten through to the other side. Car wrecks. Surgeries. Lost cell phones. Toilets overflowing. Death of pets. Air conditioning going out. Dating. Sports. Victories. Losses. Breaking up. Pimples. First jobs. Baptisms. Funerals. Happy days. Sad days. Grandparents have the scars, the badges and the stories. What is such a big deal to the young parents, isn’t to the grandparents. We are less stressed than the parents who are in the weeds of raising those little ones.
Third, those sweet tinder hearts are soft and so easily influenced. Grandparents need to set the right example. Those little ones will long remember what we did, what we said, even after we are on the other side of life. Now, a mistake grandparents make is to undermine what the parents are doing. Unless it is something that is wrong, support and go along with what the parents are doing. They are the parents, not you. One of the greatest things grandparents can do is to keep that spiritual light burning bright. I still remember going to church services with my grandparents. It was a small country church, with large windows. I remember looking out the windows and seeing cows grazing next door. The crowd was small. The singing wasn’t so great. But what fond, fond memories I still have. Just the other day, I drove by that country church building. I just wanted to see it again.
Grandkids will out smart us grandparents when it comes to using cell phones, tablets, and remotes. They know those things. And, trying to figure out a car seat nearly requires an engineering degree. And, one of the wonderful connections you have with your grandchildren is the family legacy and history. Share that. Let them know that. And, where possible, teach them about the spiritual legacy within your family. Generations of believers. First time believers. The importance of worshipping God. The value of the Bible. The good of serving others. Without realizing it, you are adding life lessons that can mold them into powerful servants of the Lord.
Our verse today is wrapped around the idea of grandparents and grandchildren. A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren. That may be referring financially, but there is a much richer inheritance and that is love shared, time enjoyed together and lives intersected. Years from now, if the Lord allows, and many of us are on the other side, what will our grandchildren remember about us? Will they even care? Or, have our lives so touched each other that we leave amazing footprints for them to follow. A spiritual inheritance is the greatest blessing you can give to your family.
After B left, I had to take a nap. I had forgotten how intense life with a seven and a half year-old can be. No wonder parents look ragged when they walk into a church building. They carry enough bags that you’d think they were backpacking for a month. But what a blessing it is to see them there.
Thanks, little B for some fun days!