Deuteronomy 4: 9 But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children—
GRANDPARENTING - A sacred responsibility
As much as Carol and I enjoy living on Vancouver Island and would probably never return to the prairies, the one thing we truly miss is time with our grandchildren. With children spread from Toronto to Comox, time with our grandchildren is limited. That is why part of our commitment to each other, is that we bring our grandchildren out to the island to spend time with us at Campbell River every summer. I know that many of you face the same dilemma of deciding whether to live close to family or where you enjoy the lifestyle but for Carol and I, Vancouver Island is where our hearts dwell.
It was with great anticipation this past weekend that we drove over to the Lower Mainland to greet our granddaughter and with masks donned and instructions received from her parents, we boarded the ferry and headed back to CR for two weeks of intensive grandparenting. This is the fourth summer for Ella to come and stay with us so we have a comfortable routine and a list of “must does” – exploring Beaverlodge Lands, ice cream on the dock, swimming at Miracle Beach and Saratoga, checking out Elk Falls and the suspension bridge, riding the chair lift at Mount Washington—you get the idea. I’m not sure if it’s us or Ella who has the most fun but time with grandchildren (Liam comes in August) is definitely the highlight of our summer.
As grandparents, we have time to spend with them. And yes; bike riding, hiking, swimming, reading and treats are important. But more important is that we are the keepers of the story. First, we hold the oral tradition of our families. For Carol and me it is important for the next generation to know how our families immigrated from Wales and America and to know that their great-grandfather has his name on the Stanley Cup. We still hold the stories of how our families survived the Great Depression and how their great-grandmother survived the Influenza outbreak of 1918, giving us hope that COVID-19 too will pass. They get to hear our stories and see through our eyes how our families came to be.
We also hold the stories of our faith. To pass on our values, our beliefs and to share God’s love is a sacred trust. Unfortunately, for many of our generation, even though our children were raised in the church, they have not embraced organized religion as part of their lives or passed the tradition on. There are good reasons for that and the post-modern church is struggling with how to address the changing spirituality of this lost generation.
As grandparents we can share not only the teachings and values of Jesus (which many of our children embrace) but also the great love that God and Christ hold for our grandchildren. It is important for them to know that what they do and who they are matters – not just to their family but to the one who created them. And there is nothing they can do that would separate them from that unconditional love. They are special – for they are children of God. Many children today believe that love is conditional on behaviour, school performance, athleticism, and physical appearance. It is an incredible gift to our grandchildren to know that they are blessed and they are loved simply – because.
In an earlier blog I wrote about how it’s all about the story. As Christians we have a unique story and perspective on life. Our grandchildren won’t know the story unless we take our sacred responsibility seriously and are intentional about sharing it. So have fun with your grandchildren this summer but don’t forget to tell the story!