a grandfather’s manifesto

Tabby and Sarina Our granddaughters, Tabby and Sarina, were here this last weekend. It was delightful.

And it reminded me again of how I want to love them. I want to love them by loving their parents.

Yes, they will all get the attention they need from me. I will read them books and buy them toys. I’ll even buy them some savings bonds, although it would be nice if there were safer investments. They call me Santa, after all.

But the most important thing I can do for my grandchildren is to encourage their parents, strengthening their marriages in every way I can. I will talk about my faith, and theirs, nudging them gently toward a biblical understanding of God’s sovereignty and grace. When they ask I will give them advice and when they don’t I will give them my prayers.

Katie and I are committed to this important task, supporting our children so they can support their children. This is the way it is supposed to work. One generation declares the works of God to the next.

Yes, grandchildren are fun and lovable. They are also a distraction from the important work of parenting, which never really ends. Long after parents lose control they still have influence and resources, and these should be invested in the foundations of their grandkids’ lives, not their sweet tooth.

Here’s what I want my grandkids to know:

  • That I will not come between them and their parents by encouraging their disobedience or disrespect.
  • That I will love both their parents completely, not just the one I bore but also the one he or she chose. I will take their calls and keep their secrets.
  • That I will come when I’m needed and leave when I should, respecting their parents’ need for privacy and rest.
  • That it is not my job to spoil them, but to love them—thoughtfully, generously and prayerfully. And yes, playfully.
  • That I will love their grandmother sacrificially and respectfully, providing the best example I can for their dads. I will encourage their dads to seek accountability and accept responsibility.
  • That I will offer their parents biblical principles and not rules, counsel and not commands, trusting the Spirit to draw them to the Father’s heart through the intercession of the Son.

This is what my grandkids need from me: Tabitha, Sarina, Timothy and Andrew, and those unborn need me to support Christian, Anne, John, Margaret, Michael, Karina, Pilgrim and a wife unnamed. Being a grandfather is not a game.

It’s just being a father, with extra responsibility.

4 thoughts on “a grandfather’s manifesto”

  1. That was absolutely beautiful. I am in the role of a grandparent to my great nephew. And, this is what I needed to hear. Thank you.

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