EDITOR’S NOTE: Longtime Baptist Messenger columnist Walker Moore passed away on June 26. The Messenger will honor Walker and continue to publish his columns from the archives. The following is the first column Walker submitted to the Messenger in 1998.

Grandparents are the downfall of America! Now wait a minute before you get out your pen and paper and write a letter to the editor. Let me explain.

It takes two things to raise a child. It takes law and grace. Parents are law. If you are a parent, that’s your job. As parents we do a fantastic job of giving out the law. When our children come home from school, often the first words out of our mouths are law: “Do your homework!” “Clean up your room!”

We are the lawgivers. Make no mistake about it, that is one of our main tasks. But children need a balancing force in their lives, and that is grace.

Historically, grandparents have been the grace-givers. Remember the TV show “The Waltons?” The dad routinely would come down hard on John Boy, and in the next scene you would see John Boy out on the front porch crying his eyes out.

Next, the door opens and out walks Grandpa to put his arms around the child while he reassures him that he is a person of worth and value.

Ninety-five percent of all homes at the turn of the 20th century had grandparents living in the home, and the grandparents did two very valuable things. They provided on-the-job training on how to parent and provided grace to their grandchildren.

Now grandma and grandpa have sold the farm and bought a recreation vehicle and are on their way to Florida or Branson, Mo. Today most homes only have law, and grace is gone. Today, children go to school and hear law, law, law, then come home and hear the same thing again.

It has been shown over and over that people who live under only law… rebel. Who provides grace for this generation? Who provides needed grace for your children?

Almost 15 years ago we asked two senior adults in our church to be “adopted” grandparents for our family. They celebrate birthdays, attend basketball games, give a listening ear and provide grace to our children.

If you don’t have a “grace-giver” for your children, run to the nearest senior adult and adopt one. Most likely their own grandchildren live hundreds of miles away from them.

Grandparents have left…so we bought Dr. Benjamin Spock, and our children are falling to pieces. Bring back the grandparents!