Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 13, 2020

Helen Vaughn

Director of Youth and Family Ministries

Children’s children are the crown of older men and women. 

Proverbs 17:6

Can you sit in reflection and rehash some cherished memories of time spent with your grandparents? I have done that this week and want to share what has come to mind. When I open my heart, floods of ancestral love and laughter fill my cells and DNA (Divine Near Always) sending positive energy into the ethers. Here I can connect to the universal wisdom of our elders. Try it. 

First off, becoming a grandparent can be life changing -- a spiritual boost that restores energy, optimism, youthfulness and a sense of purpose.  Studies show that emotional closeness between grandparents and grandchildren can actually protect against depression, promote brain function and lead to a longer life. How do you think this works?

For one, Grands are historians, the  keepers of family history. Share stories of your childhood today, or of your children’s. My dad was the cherished youngest of nine. He created all kinds of mischief and got away with it. His charm and wit carried him far though it was his intelligence and wisdom that was his true gift. His grandchildren were young when he left us, but he left nothing but joyful memories for all the kids to carry forward. They remember him as their mentor and playmate. He bought my son his first fire truck and bicycle.  Both of my parents lost a parent in their teens and hearing how mom especially handled the challenge of losing her mother so young increased my abiding love and respect for her. She reminded me often how her mom always expected and wanted the best for her. All I have are stories of two of my grandparents. They are important to me. Share pictures. Create a family tree. Write it down. I still have so many questions I wish I could ask. Remember and share the details. 

Also, with years of life experience, grandparents can serve as loving advocates . You can encourage in your grandchildren a sense of self worth that gives them a strong start and helps them rise to life’s challenges. Offer your encouragement, believe in their dreams, nurture their strengths. My son’s grandmother spent time with him from an early age by purchasing season tickets to the Atlanta symphony. Do you think her decision to spend time with her grandson in that way may have led to his decision to become a musician and music major? She lived to hear him play his trombone. Grandparents make a difference. 

Being a spiritual guide is a powerful role and another way to impact the next generations.. It can have a profound and lasting effect on your grandchild’s life. Teach your grandchildren to appreciate the qualities of compassion, acceptance, kindness, gentleness and love, and be the role model they need in your own speech and actions.  Together -- Spend time in nature. Engage in charitable activities. Listen to your grandchildren’s ideas about the meaning of life without judgement. Bring them to church.

The best advice I have recently received from a 100 year old elder trenched in biblical teaching and my son’s wife’s grandmother is to allow the children to make their own way and to support them unconditionally.  A tall order, I may add.  And if I can share  my humble advice, it  would be to provide a safe harbor without stepping on your children’s toes. Show acceptance for your children and their children. Uphold your own values and live with integrity. You are a powerful guide and caregiver. Keep the door open, and welcome their confidences.  Leaving a legacy of love is your greatest gift and offering to the world. 

I hope to see you Sunday ‘September 13, 2020  at Unity of Gainesville.  Bring your grandchildren and children with you. Make it a family affair.  Annette and I will be there to welcome you all. 

It takes wisdom to build a house, and understanding to set it on a firm foundation. It takes knowledge to furnish its rooms with fine furniture and beautiful draperies.  Proverbs 24:3-4