Last week my daughter Kristen and son-in-law Kyle welcomed their first child, Clayton James, into the world, giving me the gift of becoming a grandfather for the first time. As a father of three children, I have been blessed to experience the indescribable joy of holding my newborn children in my arms and instantly falling in love with them. I have now learned that it is just as wonderful as a grandparent!
When I held Clayton for the first time I not only experienced a rush of emotion, but a strong sense of responsibility. Not the responsibility of providing for him materially – I trust those days are over – but rather the responsibility to love, instruct, and discipline him in an effort to help influence his development towards becoming all God desires and plans for him to be.
As I think of my role as grandfather and the tremendous opportunity I have to be an influence in Clayton’s life, I’m aware of some of the specific ways I hope to fulfill this very important responsibility.
It’s my desire and intention to…
Teach him about his Creator and how he has been fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.
Consistently demonstrate love to him that is as close to unconditional as is humanly possible.
Encourage him to respect and obey his parents and others in authority over him.
Reinforce the truth that his worth and significance is intrinsic, not conditional.
Model the values of honesty, integrity, personal responsibility and hard work.
Let him know that play is a lifelong pursuit and not something that will end with his childhood.
Help to instill in him a love and passion for learning.
Encourage him to put the needs of others before his own.
Assist in cultivating his gifts, talents and abilities so that he may use them to live out his purpose.
On occasion, and at my discretion, exercise my grandfatherly right to spoil him just a little bit!
Although our adult children have the primary responsibility of raising their own children, we as grandparents, whether living down the street or across the country, need to understand and value the significant role we can play in influencing our grandchildren. If you have been blessed with your own grandchildren, take time to think about the many ways you can or continue to have a positive and meaningful impact in their lives. Remember, a legacy is not what you leave for your children and grandchildren, but rather what you leave in them.
Live, Work and Relate Well!