Most of the time when we speak of “generations” in our culture, we are speaking of gaps.
Generational gaps allude to groups who have a lack of understanding, a lack of commonality, a lack of the older keeping up with the times. And gaps tend to do what they imply: they cause separation.
I don’t think God ever intended for us to have generational gaps. Scripture after Scripture speaks to the contrary. Paul tells young pastor Timothy,
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers…” I Timothy 4:12
I think God is indirectly telling older people not to look down on younger people, but recognize that they have something great to contribute. Moses tells God’s people,
“Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the LORD do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.” Deuteronomy 4:9
Jesus tells the children to “come unto Me.” Loving the little ones is where the impact on their lives really begins. Until they know that they are valued and loved, they will not be in a position to listen to any other instruction. Raising a godly heritage, I’m convinced, does not end with raising your children. It extends to your children’s children. I’ve heard it said over and over that being a grandparent is better than being a parent. While I do not agree with that statement, I do agree that both parenting and grand parenting are equally wonderful responsibilities!
Having grandchildren is like the icing on a cupcake: you love the cupcake, it’s delicious. But the icing on the top makes it even sweeter and more satisfying. Having grandchildren, when you love and adore your own children, is the icing on top. Life becomes even sweeter and more meaningful. You realize that just as your nest emptied, it becomes even fuller and richer than it was before.
This last week I was able to experience this truth, both first hand and second hand. First, Jim and I were invited to Grandparents’ Day at our granddaughter Cami’s Preschool. She beamed with pride as she showed us her classroom, her work, her friends, and her beloved teacher. We stood shoulder to shoulder with other grandparents who share the same incredible deep love for their children’s children, as we do for ours. What I noticed acutely was that all of the children have the same measure of pride mixed with love and admiration. They were holding the hands of the elder people in their lives who have the privilege of celebrating them at every turn. And all without the daunting responsibility of correcting or reproving them every day. I marveled at how God weaves things together so articulately, beautifully and purposefully.
And then second-hand, two days later I hosted Grandparent’s Day for my students in my 4th grade classroom. The anticipation and excitement working up to that day was electric, all during that week. The students made their gifts, wrote their interviews, recorded the reasons that they most loved their grandparents, and told and retold their favorite stories about their own grandparents, with nothing but love and admiration in their voices and in their eyes. As I was introduced to grandparent after grandparent by each beaming child, each one presented them to me as if they were presenting a grand prize. It was clear they were sharing with me one of their greatest treasures. It was undeniable that God has created a unique and special bond, not only between parents and children, but also with children and their grandparents.
Our culture has not done well with fostering this bond. Instead of creating close bonds between generations, we have permitted generational gaps. We older adults have been told, ‘Hey, you put your time in. You raised your kids. Now let your children raise their own children. It’s their turn. You deserve this time for yourself.’
You know, I really don’t remember Jesus ever saying that to His followers. I think He actually said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” [but, well, I’m too busy because I filled up my calendar with other activities].
How are little children going to see what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like, here on earth, if we don’t demonstrate it to them, through prioritizing our time and resources for them?
We as grandparents do not replace the vital position as parents. But we do play a vital role. I propose, what better way to spend our time and money than investing in our grandchildren? We have an incredible opportunity to impact, not just a single generation for Jesus, but two generations! In my opinion, if the statement is true that being a grandparent is even better than being a parent, it is because you love your children so much that you cannot help but adore your grandchildren! When I see the sparkle in the grandchildren’s eyes during Grandparents’ Day, I am profoundly convicted that grandparents have a strong impact on their grandchildren. We as grandparents can choose to involve and invest, and make that impact count in this next generation.
Raising a godly heritage extends to the next generation!
I have a good picture of it now, as I look on my two precious grandchildren. I want them to know more than anything that God is love. That Jesus loves them, not just because I sing the song to them, but because I live that out in front of them. Jesus loves the little children, and so do I! You have a special role to play! Even if you are not yet a grandparent, a parent or a parent-to-be, there are children in your life who need you to show them Jesus!
Speak Truth Love