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.
Yesterday, I read a blog post by Chris Lema with this title and it piqued my interest. Chris writes about business and new product development and innovation but he writes in an simple, engaging manner that even I can understand.
So, since Father's Day arrives this Sunday, I read his post with interest. (You can check it out yourself if you're interested... here.)
The influence of a father
He recalls memories of his family and, in particular, the influence of his dad, unmeasured at the time, that impacted his lifelong outlook, his attitude and his focus in work and family life.
You can read part of it below....
When I was a kid, my parents would occasionally take us out to dinner. Sometimes it was Pioneer Chicken. Other times McDonalds. And a few times we went to Taco Bell.This was back in the days when the restaurants looked like a bell (late 70′s). But one day we went to a different Taco Bell and this time the restaurant looked a lot like the ones you may have seen recently.
An important question
Chris concludes his article with a question, not an answer. It's a question that he asks of his readers in a professional context, but also challenges each of us in the personal arena of family life. It's a question that I pose to fathers now.
'Are you asking the right questions in front of the right people (read here- family) to spur on their curiosity and challenge them to keep learning and growing?"
Mmmm... tough one.... even now, in retrospect as a father of grown children and now a grandfather, I struggle with this challenge. As parents, as fathers, as grandfathers, are we living out our faith with our kids, and grandkids, day by day? Are we encouraging them to apply God's promises and principles of living as they interact with their friends and family? Are we spurring them on to keep learning and growing in their Christian faith and understanding? Are we challenging them to measure and evaluate the culture, rather than merely accepting and accommodating our beliefs to fit in?
As with Chris, I believe it's a lot harder to live out. But the benefits are indeed long-term, even eternal. What memories of you will your children retain and hold dear? What impact are you having on your kids in small, but important ways day by day?
The world's attention, this week, has been firmly focussed on London and the inspirational stories of Olympic victories; the triumph, and sometimes the despair, of athletes as they strive to overcome personal hurdles and challenges. This international event opens up wonderful opportunities for discussion with your children and I've included some suggestions below. Remember that other helpful articles and ideas are regularly added to our TweedKids website (and Facebook page).
Faithfulness: Watch the Olympic events together, and talk about athletes that are faithful to God. Share the stories of some of the Christian athletes. Look for more stories at: http://beyondtheultimate.org
Sanya Richards-Ross, a Christian athlete who may be the fastest female runner in the world, is representing the United States for a second time in the 2012 Olympics. Sanya became a Christian when she was 12 years old. She desires to be faithful to God and she recently committed to reading through the entire Bible. One verse she says frequently to herself is, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
She says that her faith encourages her to give her best. She says, "I know that my talent is God's gift to me, and how I use it is my gift to Him."
Ask: What do you think athletes need to do to compete in the Olympics? (Talent, work hard, and to stick with it even when they don't feel like it)
Many Olympic athletes practice all day every day so they will be ready to compete. They give their best to win a medal. Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Why do athletes run or compete? (To get a prize that will eventually fade away)
What qualities do athletes need to win? (Self-control, determination, willingness to practice and work hard, etc.)
What do we need as we live for Jesus? (Self-control, determination to do what is right, faithfulness to follow Him, etc.)
Paul says we should run the Christian life with the same determination and self-control an athlete has when he or she competes for a medal that fades away. We will receive a reward from God some day if we are faithful to do what He has asked us to do.
from SPLINK resources - HOME CONNECTION
The kids have been enjoying the activities and fun of PandaMania and this will be its last week. We'll also be sharing the fun of PandaMania and some of the lessons and music during a special family focused service on Sunday, December 11 at 9:30am.
Click through some of our PandaMania scrapbook below to see just some of the excitement!
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