The just shall live by faith. —Habakkuk 2:4, and quoted in the New Testament in Romans 1:17; Colossians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38. That truth formed the basis of the Apostle Paul’s theology, and his Epistle to the Romans (on that subject) fueled the theology of Martin Luther and the Reformation, and two centuries later of John Wesley.
I tell friends who are about to become grandparents for the first time, “You are about to be more in love than you have ever been in your life!” I tell them, “Right now, you don’t even know that child. But pretty soon, you will not want to live without them.”
It’s a marvelous thing the hold that the child of my child can have on my heart. In many respects, my eight grands have given me more joy than my three did. Perhaps it’s because we had our children when we were young–in our twenties–and our grands when we were in late middle-aged and were far different, even better, people.
We want to cherish these little ones and to do all we can to make a lasting difference in their lives, for now and for eternity. So, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about grandparenting by faith.
“Who can find a virtuous man? For his price is far above diamonds” (Not Proverbs 31:10, but it well could be.)
My father was Carl J. McKeever (1912-2007). No one who met him ever forgot.
Like two of his four sons–the two who became preachers!–Pop was a talker. He was interested in a thousand things and enjoyed good food, hearty laughter and great conversation with friends. And he loved to write.
What’s interesting about that is he had a seventh grade education. As the oldest of an even dozen children, he left school to help support the family when he was 12, and entered the coal mines to work alongside his father two years later. His formal education may have ended, but dad was always learning and thinking and paying attention.
Most of his writing was done on note pads, in a lovely script which schools taught back in the 1920s. Something called the Palmer Method. Up to his death at the age of 95, his handwriting was impressive. Those notes he wrote were legible and intelligent, and remarkable for a coal miner.
I’m leading up to sharing one of them with you. My brother Ron handed me this in Pop’s handwriting during our brief visit at the restaurant in Jasper, Alabama.
My friend Paul took up golf so he would have something to share with his boys when they became teenagers. Smart man. Fathers find fewer and fewer activities in common with their children as they grow up and mature.
When my children were small, we connected on every level. I helped them learn to swim, taught them to ride bikes, and every night, told them bedtime stories (with one lying enfolded in each arm). We flew kites and dug for sharks teeth and collected rocks. We made up silly songs in the car and they sang out as loudly as I did. We visited the zoo and played ball and worked in the yard. We visited grandparents and they slept over with cousins.
Then they got to be teenagers. Sing in the car? Dad, you’re kidding, right? Be seen in the mall with you, Dad–do I have to? Oh, and drop me off a block before we get to school so my friends won’t see me getting out of the family car. Family reunion? Boring!
They did let me teach them to drive the car. Usually, it was a Sunday afternoon in an empty parking lot, or down some deserted road. But as soon as they received their license, they preferred to be left alone with their friends.
Life had changed.