Many years ago, I read of a father who relocated his family to ensure that his children grew up under the godly influence of his own dad. Apparently, work commitments had caused his father to move interstate and he decided it was better for the family to pull up roots and move, too.
It was a big decision, but he explained that the benefits of his father's unconditional love and support and the instilling of his wisdom and experience into the lives of his children far outweighed the inconvenience of moving.
As I read that story years ago, I prayed that when I reached that stage of my life I, too, would be able to provide a hard-wrought wisdom, a powerful testimony of faith and a stabilising connection with the past for my future grandchildren.
Today's grandparents are a far cry from the image of the homely grandma knitting gently in her rocking chair while granddad happily potters in the warmth of his backyard veggie garden. Today's gran may be a successful career woman just reaching the peak of her game and granddad has taken up abseiling. Yes, modern families may be more complicated but most grandparents still want to be an integral part of the lives of their grandchildren.
Many grandparents have pushed retirement aside and increasingly taken on regular care-giving roles in families.They are 'grand-parents' in every sense of the word as they take on these parenting roles after families fracture for a host of reasons.
The figures show that while half of all Australian children under 12 received childcare of some form last year, just 24% were in formal care, compared with 26% who were cared for by their grandparents.There are also more than 14,000 grandparent families in which the grandparents are the guardians or main carers of co-resident children aged 0 to 17 years.
While the previous mobile generation living in different states, regions and even countries were separated from grandparents and struggled to maintain family connection, today's families appear to have rediscovered the value and support of close, involved grandparents.
Many have established a multi-generational family approach to raising kids with grandparents as providers, mentors, teachers, nurturers.. providing a spiritual rock during hard times. For grandparents, it's the opportunity to teach important values, establish Biblical foundations and pass on family traditions to their grandchildren.
How appropriate then, this Sunday on Grandparents Day, to be able to celebrate the rich and living heritage of loving grandparents who provide a powerful testimony of God's faithfulness in the lives of their families.
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the