It isn’t having grandchildren that make me feel old these days; it is the knowledge that I am married to their grandmother. These last few years, adding the role of grandfather to my life has brought me some of the best days I’ve ever had.
Many grandparents tell me to enjoy this phase while I can, because when my grandsons hit their teenage years, I will take a back seat to their friends. I know that life is constantly changing, and nothing remains the same. But I hope to use these next few years of having the boys’ attention wisely.
When I found out our first grandchild was on the way, I looked around to find some role models for my grandparenting style. One couple stood out from the rest: Bob and Millie Combs. I met Bob and Millie through their son, Mark. Later, Bob; Mark; and Mark’s son, Brennan, three generations of Combses, helped me carry the cross up Mount Kilimanjaro.
Mark has told me story after story of how his parents were intentional with their grandchildren. From creating a whole week of adventures centered on biblical themes to one-day events, everything they did was creative and intentional in teaching a principle or truth.
So while my influence may be winding down, I am going to make the best of it. On the day River the Peacemaker was born, my oldest two grandsons and I had our first club meeting. Our club is called “Moore Adventures: To the Ends of the Earth.” We have our own logo created by Bob’s son, Mark; it is embroidered on our club hats. Yes, each team member has a Moore Adventures hat.
The first day, our club had to go on a hike to find the “magic pond.” Titus the Honorable at 5 1/2 is the senior member and had the job of leading 3-year-old Cohen the Goodhearted to the pond. Titus has been hiking with me for a few years and has become great at following trails, watching for danger and carrying a daypack.
I want to teach Titus the skills to mentor his brother, and when Cohen gets older, he will train his brother River. I think it is biblical to have the older teach the younger, and what better way to start than by training your brother?
As we reached the trail, Titus the Honorable pulled Cohen the Goodhearted to one side. He took off his backpack and showed Cohen how to put it on. Then he taught him how to use the CamelBak water bladder. This is a small pouch of water that fits inside your backpack with a hose that comes up and over your shoulder and down your front. While you walk, you pick up the tube, stick one end into your mouth, bite on the tip and suck water into your mouth.
Cohen never took the tip out of his mouth. He sucked the entire bladder dry within 20 minutes. Titus patiently walked along beside him, teaching him how to look out for snakes and rocks that could cause him to stumble. Even at one point when the trail got “dangerous,” he took hold of his little brother’s hand and guided him through the rough terrain.
While I am teaching Titus the skills of guiding, encouraging, mentoring and taking responsibility, I also want to connect every activity to the Scriptures. That is why our adventures always lead us to “the ends of the earth.” That phrase comes from Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
So you see, our Moore Adventures club is connected to God’s command to go unto the ends of the earth. It is my prayer that there will come a day when our club will become His calling on their lives. And when God calls these young men, they will be equipped and ready to follow Him to the “ends of the earth.”
But until that day, we will continue to hike through forests and rivers, wearing our backpacks and having our headlamps ready. Poppy will continue to teach Titus, Titus will teach Cohen, Cohen will teach River, and then they will teach the world.
Is everything I do with my grandsons about teaching the Scriptures and setting up skill-learning scenarios? No, just 51 percent of the time. The rest of the time, we are eating ice cream, turning the water hose on each other or watching a movie. These boys are great mathematicians, and they will soon figure out what is most important to Poppy.
Now if we can only teach Cohen not to drink a liter of water all at one time.