This is my eighth year of being a grandparent. These have been some of the best days of my life. For years we thought we weren’t going to have any grandchildren, and then we found ourselves with three handsome, vivacious grandsons. What I didn’t expect is they would be the teachers, and I would be the student. Here are five things these three boys have taught me:
1. How to give grace. It is not a part of my spiritual makeup to be a grace-giver. I am the one called to teach, lead, vision-cast and so forth. But I find myself being overwhelmed at the grace these boys have pulled out of me. Since I became a grandfather, I have cried more, hugged more and laughed more. I have “awwwww”d over more “owies” then most television doctors. And did you know that compassion, love, grace and a kiss from Poppy can instantly heal most of these owies? Who knew my lips had the gift of healing?
2. The family schedule is more important than Poppy’s schedule. I have been on the road a lot since the COVID restrictions were lifted. I got a call asking if I could come and teach for four consecutive days, but I looked on my calendar and realized Titus the Honorable’s birthday would take place during that time. There is nothing I love to do more than teach and train believers, but Titus the Honorable has only one eighth birthday, and there will be scores of other opportunities to speak. I declined the speaking engagement. These days, I have lunch dates at schools, soccer games, school programs and outings that take precedence over Poppy’s schedule.
3. Little things are big things. One day my grandsons came rushing into the house all excited, carrying a little stick. “Look what we did, Poppy!”
Before I could examine their creation, they yelled, “We made a sword!” I noticed the stick’s sharp point.
They went on to tell me that they had taken a rock and rubbed the end of the stick across it until it transformed from a stick to a sword. I marveled at what they had done. Yes, little things have become big and important things to me. And if you ever need a sword, just call 1-800-Yadahoodies.
4. Time is precious. How quickly they grow up! If I have been told once, I have been told a hundred times: Enjoy what you have now; later, they are going to be so busy with other things that you will get only the occasional visit. I hope that is not true; if it is, I pray the time I did have with them will impact the rest of their lives. I pray our time together was both quality and intentional. Yes, they will move on to other things, but I pray that what I have spoken into them will last a lifetime.
5. To pray differently. My prayers for my kids usually started with “Dear God, Please don’t let me kill my children today. And may they make it home safely from school with their lunchbox, notebooks and jacket, or at least 2 out of 3. Amen.”
Grammy and I have prayed much more deeply for our grandchildren. We pray that God will call them into His magnificent work. We pray that they will hear His voice, deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Him. We pray that their characters will match their names: Titus the Honorable, Cohen the Goodhearted and River the Peacemaker. We pray that they will be men of discernment in a confusing world. We pray that God will watch over and protect their innocence. I have found myself praying for them multiple times a day. I usually quit praying for my children when they got home safely from school with all their belongings in tow. But I never cease praying for these little ones.
Yes, my grandsons have taught me a lot and are still teaching this old man more about God and His ways. But I want to be like Lois when the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, reminding him of his great inheritance in the faith. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Tim. 1:5).
I have been blessed by these last eight years more than anyone will ever know. If the Lord tarries, I can’t wait for the next eight. It seems as if only yesterday I was holding them in the hospital, but in reality, yesterday they were jumping off a dock, swimming in the lake and fishing. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and using the least of these to teach even me.