Grandchildren are like a crown to the elderly, and the glory of children is their parents. (Proverbs 17:6 NET)
I remember sitting with my best friend, Doug, on the front porch stoop in Ohio. We would contemplate such deep conversations as, “Hey Doug, what do you want to do?” “I don’t know Bob, what do you want to do?” “I don’t know Doug, what do you want to do?” This could go on for hours until we gave up and actually went and did something. Occasionally we would think about other things like the changing of the century. We wondered if we’d be alive at the dawn of the new century. I’d be ancient at forty-eight. That just sounded so, so, . . . OLD!
One year I was in the USA for furlough. Some fine folks think of it as a vacation. Since we work daily on relationships, support raising, travel a lot (13,000 miles) and share the ministry often (preaching 49 times in 12 weeks) I can’t see how this would qualify as vacation. But, that is another story. Well into my fifties, well past the turn of the century, the old conversations seemed so . . . dated. I had made it. So did Doug, by the way. And not only did forty-eight not appear so old being a grandparent required a new view on life and aging.
In our home assignment we were thrilled to see our grandson again and meet our two granddaughters for the first time. What an absolute delight to cuddle, hug and spoil my grandchildren. Near the beginning of our US assignment we, Beth and I, spent time with my Mom. My brother recently retired to the area and my other brother came to visit from the west coast. It was the first time in about 20 years we were all in the same place at the same time. A little family reunion was in progress.
Into this gathering my daughter, her husband, and their daughter came to visit. Ellice sat next to her grandmother, holding her daughter while I stood behind them for a generational photo. Four generations! I know there are families with more generations in a single photo but for me it was something new and exciting. I thought living to the turn of the century was dubious and here I was with four generations. I loved it.
Here I was looking at an example of a living legacy. My mother, and father, passed along their beliefs and views of life to me. I learned, modified and developed my own version tempered by the era which influenced my thinking. I passed them along to my daughter, plus our three sons, who modified them with into their own version tempered by the era in which they lived. And now she was starting to pass them along to her daughter.
One generation after another. As we watched our children grow, build their own families and lives, we hoped they learned the good things and not the bad. They did things differently than we did. That’s to be expected. But, regardless of differences we hoped our relationship was like the Proverb.
We knew our grandchildren were our crown as we grew older. Just think of all the photos we could share with the unsuspecting passerby. We never tired of beaming with pride as we inundate others with their cute smiles and rattled on about their adventures.
On the other hand, we hoped our children could take pride in us as their parents. We made mistakes, no argument there. We watched and prayed that the good of the Lord worked through us to shape their lives. So far, so good.
Jesus tells us eternal life is all about who you know (John 17:6). I suspect the present life is knowing your grandchildren. Watching a living legacy grow this side of heaven is what the present life is about. Thanks God for allowing me to experience this living legacy in my life.