(Reproduced courtesy of the Legacy Coalition)
I’m not a wine drinker, but those who are often speak of certain wines that seem to improve with age. They become more flavorful and full-bodied. There are also some that don’t age well. They lose their flavor and turn into vinegar. Grandfathers are similar to wine. Some age well and are a blessing to their family. Others are — well, they’re much like wine that has turned to vinegar. Which are you?
Grandfathers, I hope you know how vital you are to your family’s well-being, especially their spiritual well-being, if you are a follower of Christ. Proverbs 13:22 says, A righteous man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children. Though this passage is speaking about an inheritance of material wealth, could it not also refer to something more than material possessions? Are material possession all I am responsible to leave to the next generations?
In their book, The Heritage, Otis Ledbetter and Kurt Bruner define heritage as including “the spiritual, emotional and social legacy that is passed on from parent to child… good or bad.” They suggest that these three components of an inheritance provide a connection to one’s past, an identity and security in the present, and hope for the future.
So, how do we, as grandfathers, make sure that the inheritance, or heritage, we leave our grandchildren fulfills those criteria? I’d like to suggest three basic things grandfathers can do to be a good and full-bodied heritage builder:
Jump into your role with enthusiasm and expectancy. In a time of epidemic absenteeism by fathers, let’s not let that be the case for us as grandfathers. I know too many grandfathers who are content to sit back and let grandma do most of the engaging with the grandkids. Why would a grandfather do that? Why should grandma get all the blessings? You, as a grandfather, hold the key to a meaningful inheritance for your grandchildren. They need your example and involvement in their lives… more than we often realize.
LEAVE A WRITTEN/RECORDED LEGACY
Your story needs to be told, but it also needs to be written down or recorded so that it is not forgotten among future generations. Record your family history, your own personal life journey, and the lessons God has taught you in that journey. If you need a tool to help you get started, check out this Legacy Journal in pdf format you can download.
GIVE YOUR BLESSING
The spoken blessing is a powerful tool for communicating the high value God has given to each individual He created in His image, and to affirm and picture a special future that God has purposed for each person who is born into this world. Your grandchildren are overwhelmed with words of cursing and hopelessness. They need to hear from you words of blessing and hopefulness. If you don’t know how to do a spoken blessing, this link will take you to a free download, Creating a Legacy of Blessing, I have prepared to help you in that process.
At the Legacy Coalition, we believe Grandparents Matter. That means that dads matter, too… and so do granddads, if you have learned to age well ! I hope you believe you can matter, and will use these three simple steps to matter well.
Founder and Executive Director of the Christian Grandparenting Network. Cavin writes a weekly blog called Courageous Grandparenting, serves as Assistant Resource Director for the Legacy Coalition, hosts a monthly online GrandChat Live! for grandparents, and is both an author and a speaker.