I am a grandmother who is blessed to have fourteen grandchildren. I often take care of them and love just having them over. However, I would like to do more for them than just baby-sit. What can I do to really make an impact on their lives?
Above all else, I would hope you would help lead your grandchildren to Jesus Christ. You are in a wonderful position to do that. My grandmother had a profound impact on my spiritual development--even greater in my early years than my father, who was a minister. She talked about the Lord every day and made Him seem like a very dear friend who lived in our house. I will never forget the conversations we had about heaven and how wonderful it would be to live there throughout eternity. That little lady is on the other side today, waiting for the rest of her family to join her in that beautiful city.
You can have that kind of impact on your family too. Grandparents have been given powerful influence on their grandchildren if they will take the time to invest in their lives. There is so much to be accomplished while they are young. Another of the great contributions you can make is to preserve the heritage of your family by describing its history to children and acquainting them with their ancestors.
The lyrics of an African folk song say that when an old person dies, it's as if a library has burned down. It is true. There's a richness of history in your memory of earlier days that will be lost if it isn't passed on to the next generation.
To preserve this heritage, you should tell them true stories of days gone by. Share about your faith, about your early family experiences, about the obstacles you overcame or the failures you suffered. Those recollections bring a family together and give it a sense of identity.
I spoke earlier about my grandmother. There was another wonderful lady in our family, my great-grandmother (Nanny), who helped raise me from babyhood. She was already old when I was born and lived to be nearly one hundred years of age. I loved for her to tell me tales about her early life on the frontier. A favorite story involved mountain lions that would prowl around her log cabin at night and attack the livestock. She could hear them growling and moving past her window as she lay in bed. Nanny's father would try to shoot the cats or chase them away before they killed a pig or a goat. I sat fascinated as this sweet lady described a world that had long vanished by the time I came onto the scene. Her accounts of plains life helped open me to a love of history, a subject that fascinates me to this day.
The stories of your past, of your childhood, of your courtship with their grandfather, etc., can be treasures to your grandchildren. Unless you share those experiences with them, that part of their history will be gone forever. Take the time to make yesterday come alive for the kids in your family, and by all means, pass your faith along to the next generation.