September 8, 2013, is National Grandparents Day.
Since 1978 our country has officially recognized the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The statute gives the following purpose for the day: “…to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”
The positive influence of grandparents is generational, having what might be called
“the ripple effect.”
While the greeting-card industry delights
in the money-making opportunities, it is certainly praiseworthy to show appreciation for the important roles that individuals in different stations of life play in society. Because of contributions grandparents make in the family, it is good to include them in the list of honorees.
The positive influence of grandparents is generational, having what might be called “the ripple effect.” As far as Christians are concerned, through word and example each generation passes on to the next the teachings of God’s holy will and His gracious, saving truths in Christ Jesus.
Read the opening words of instruction in Deuteronomy chapter six, where the Lord tells how future generations in Israel would enjoy the continued blessings of God. Or consider the case of young Pastor Timothy in the New Testament. The apostle Paul gratefully praised God for the religious heritage handed down to Timothy by his mother and grandmother. He writes, “I thank God… when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you,
which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am
persuaded is in you also” (2 Timothy 1:3,5).
Although parents are chiefly responsible for bringing up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), grandparents can have a decided influence on their grandchildren. One way this is done is by spending time together, sharing valuable life lessons experienced over the years. They can offer godly wisdom to the grandchildren, tell them Bible history stories, sing religious songs with them, or simply show grandchildren their love and affection.
The very first grandparents in human history had a major hand in spiritually shaping and molding many, many generations. There was no written revelation from God until the days of Moses, but Adam (who lived 930 years!) and his wife Eve could give witness to the one true Creator God; they could provide a firsthand account of mankind’s
fall into sin and its dreadful consequences upon all people.
In order that each new generation could learn of God’s forgiving love and the blessed hope of eternal life, these first grandparents repeated God’s promise to send a Savior who blesses sinners with forgiveness
and everlasting life in heaven (Genesis 3:15; Romans 5:12-19). No
more important truths can be passed along to the next generation
than the message of mankind’s sin on the one hand, and of
God’s grace on the other.
With the increasing breakdown of the nuclear family in our day, grandparents often have a more direct hand in the spiritual rearing of children than do the parents. If and when they are called upon to spend time with the children, grandparents can help teach, shape, and mold both the little ones and the older youth.
There are even foster grandparent programs out there. When children do not have the benefit of spending much time with a parent(s)—or do not have grandparents—seniors might volunteer to serve as foster grandparents. Recently a local South Dakota newspaper had an article about the Foster Grandparent Program. One volunteer said: “I enjoy the daily challenge of encouraging and leading children to grow in their studies, their behavior, and their attitude.”
When we Christians consider the spiritual blessings we enjoy because of the religious heritage passed down from previous generations, let us thank and praise God for the gift of Christian grandparents.
Not only do we want to thank God for this blessing, but we also will want to show our Christian grandparents honor, love, and gratitude in different ways.