My grandfathers passed when I was in grade school so I didn’t get lots of time with them. Yet, when I think of them, the importance of grandfathers in the lives of young children is clear. Generational layers of father figures are good for children. If we are blessed, we see strength tempered by love, hard work poured out on behalf of the family, and discipline meted out for life lesson learning.
I barely remember my paternal grandfather so let me share some of the things I remember that stand out about my maternal grandfather. He was a gentle giant who was always glad to see us. While he was not as full of vitality as my young father, he still had an aura of strength about him. A strength that had been gentled with age.
He still owned a service station in my early years, so I saw him at work. That was fascinating to a young girl and became part of setting a course for a good work ethic. That character trait was developed more fully as I grew and not only watched my parents work, but joined them in family work projects. The generational understanding of the need to work in order to support oneself is now being grown into the fifth generation from my grandfather as our Grands have chores and earn money for their wants.
My grandfather liked to cook and I remember him making homemade noodles for chicken and noodles as well as working at the grill making Sunday afternoon rotisserie chicken. I saw that a household could operate with people using their different talents and passions to bring joy to the whole family. While I’m old enough that many traditional household roles were played by the genders, pigeonholing people into tasks wasn’t hard and fast. My grandfather was as good a cook as my grandmother and together they made wonderful family meals.
I’ll wrap up by sharing some observations from watching my husband as he grandfathers the many young ones in our lives. First, it’s a role he delights in. He, like most of us, has found that age brings with it a true understanding of the treasure represented by young lives. He plans and buys and thinks about and prays for the grandchildren all the time. I see him showing our Grands some of the same strengths I saw in my grandfather. It’s a joy to watch and they love it!
Grandmothers take time this Father’s Day to let grandfathers know the importance of their place in the blessing of the generations. Children learn from watching and interacting with the key people in their lives. Having the depth of multiple generations implants lessons, sometimes subconsciously, and brings a well-roundedness to young people. In our days of broken relationships, this is more important than ever. We need to see healing among families and grandfathers who understand the importance of being present in family life, and play an important role in that process.