My mum’s name is Lois. She is a grandmother 19 times over and a great grandmother 12 times (at last count – hang on, just got a text from my sister, that’d be 13 now). Lois is a wonderful name for a grandmother as St Paul reminds us of another Lois’ legacy to her grandson Timothy: “I have been 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 Timothy 1:5). Lois had passed her faith on to her daughter, Eunice who turn passed that to her son Timothy who Paul knew as a faithful man of God.
On Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day last Friday I thought about my own grandparents. Although all long gone now, my grandparents played a powerful role in passing on the Christian faith to my parents and to me and my brothers and sisters. They lived lives in quiet, humble witness to their creator and saviour. I never remember God being “rammed down our throats” but I saw and felt through the way they lived and loved that Jesus was someone who I too might want to learn to know. I am ever grateful for my grandparents and the ancestors that went before who passed the faith onto them.
Today, although our culture idolizes youth and tends to ignore those with grey hair, seniors bring enormous value to their churches, families and communities. After surviving decades of the storms of life, they have grown wise about people and life. They don’t rush around quite as fast and take the time to savour conversations and meals together. They can make sure that little children feel important.
Here are some things that I have observed that my grandparents did for their grandkids:
- Listen to them any time they want to talk.
- Gently offer wise counsel to encourage them in their faith and character development.
- Love them unconditionally…don't be afraid that you'll "spoil" them.
- Were creative, fun and affectionate.
- Pray for them continually to be immersed in the knowledge and love of God at an early age and even to finding mates of God's choosing.
- Perceive and reflect their worth and affirm God's calling on their lives.
- Respect their parents and never undermine their authority.
We loved having a school full of grandparents, special friends and grandkids together last week. We hope that this event was another opportunity for bonds of love to be forged between generations and where heart, wisdom, humour, affection and faith can be passed on.
Mark Rathjen, Principal