Being a grandparent is one of the best “jobs” in the world. Children and grandchildren are truly a blessing, a gift, a heritage and a reward. They are our posterity. And they are an “inheritance” from God. Have you talked to your grandparents recently?
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3). When a person becomes a grandparent, the truth of this scripture becomes better understood. American radio and television personality Art Linkletter said, "Posterity is the patriotic name for grandchildren." So, our grandchildren are our heritage—our posterity. They are the future generation springing from us.
The blessing part is not hard to understand at all. What a joy grandchildren can be to a grandparent! And what fun! Grandparents can become animated almost like children again, interacting with younger grandchildren, not caring what anyone may think because they are thoroughly enjoying the moment. Maybe the best part of the joy comes from seeing the bright and laughing little face of a grandchild having fun with you.
Being a grandparent is an important phase of life, a time to make a few improvements in our approach to child-rearing. Being a grandparent is different from being a parent. Grandparents are able to be kinder and gentler, more nurturing, more playful and fun. As parents we poured ourselves into the responsibility of rearing our children, and now our children have that job with their children. The parents have the job of making them eat their vegetables, but grandparents can enjoy the cookies and milk, the ice cream and cake.
Of course, most family relationships fall short of the ideal. Some fall tragically short of what we would like it to be. Still, we can strive to do what we can even in less than perfect circumstances.
Marian McQuade, a housewife from West Virginia, is generally recognized as the founder of National Grandparents Day, though credit is also given to Hermine Hanna of New York for her efforts. On August 3, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation establishing National Grandparents Day in the United States on the first Sunday after Labor Day. The purpose of the day is to honor grandparents, and to make children aware of what older people have to offer.
The commandment says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) We should not forget that a grandparent is a grand “mother” or a grand “father”—and is thus included in the commandment as worthy of honor. Too many grandparents and senior citizens are forgotten. Seniors are a treasure trove of stories, history, learning, insight and wisdom—if we would only spend some time talking with them and tapping their well of knowledge.
Scripture tells us “to visit orphans and widows” (James 1:27). We are also commanded to “rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32). Another translation puts it this way: “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord” (NIV)
National Grandparents Day is on September 11 this year. Go see your grandparents, if at all possible. Or at least give them a call, and share a little time with them. If you do not have a grandparent, visit a widow or a senior citizen. Ask what it was like when he or she was a child. One way or another, find out about your heritage, and honor your grandfathers and grandmothers. God’s word has a lot to say about the subject; for more, read our booklet The Ten Commandments, and consider again our commentary, “An evening at Grandma’s.”