I never knew my grandparents, but family friends – Mr. and Mrs. Hope – became something like surrogate grandparents to me. They led my mother to the Lord, and treated her, my siblings, and me as part of their family.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are visiting with “Grandpa Hope,” as we called him. He would sit in a big recliner in his garden atrium, play checkers with us kids and – like any good grandfather – lose on purpose often enough to build our self-confidence.
Looking back on those days now, with the wisdom of an adult, I appreciate more than ever the powerful influence the mere presence of a grandfather can have on a grandchild. Grandpa Hope used something as simple as a game of checkers to invest in my life and to affirm me.
That’s the power of grandparents. Their love and influence can reverberate for generations.
That opportunity is an amazing gift from God, but there’s a question attached to it that each of us must answer: What kind of a legacy will I leave?
Both of our boys are still in high school, but Jean and I know it could be only a few years before one of them calls us with the good news that he and his wife are about to make us grandparents. I’m looking forward to it.
But it’s got me doing some thinking in the meantime about that question, about the kind of grandfather I hope to be, and about how God might want to use me as a loving and positive influence in my grandkids’ lives.
I recently had a conversation with Carey Casey about how grandfathers can do exactly that. Carey is a speaker, the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, and the author of a book he’s written in collaboration with Focus on the Family titled “Championship Grandfathering.” We’ll be airing that conversation today on our radio program “Being a Champion to Your Grandkids.”
Carey will encourage grandfathers that they can pass on important lessons about life, faith, and family to their grandkids and generations beyond, and he’ll share how to do it.