What’s Fun About Being a Grandparent?

I was never very close to my grandparents. They lived a considerable distance away, and I very seldom got to see them. I respected them, but regret they were not an integral part of my life growing up. Years later, as a young preacher when I witnessed new grandparents lose all sense of reason and make themselves look foolish, I would think,”‘I’ll never act that goofy if my children have children.”

Then my first grandchild was born. I was immediately transformed into a doting, bragging old geezer. I found myself frequently using my new grandson in sermon illustrations and finding ways to put his picture on the big screen when I preached. Church members would tease me and ask, “When can I put my grandchild’s picture on the screen?” I had a standard answer, “Next time you preach, you have my permission because now I understand what’s so great about being a grandparent. You can’t help it can you?”

Eventually, I was blessed with seven grandchildren. They now range in age from twenty-two to ten. Few people have enjoyed being a grandfather more than I. Admittedly there have been some anxious moments and a few disappointing experiences, but I frequently thank God that I have lived long enough to witness their baptisms, ball games, Christmas musicals, dance recitals, graduation exercises and even one marriage ceremony.

Years ago my wife and I established a tradition that turned out extremely positive. When a grandchild turns ten, we take them on a special trip. We let them know this will not be an amusement park vacation but a three-day educational trip with their grandparents to learn something about the history of our country. Age ten seemed the best time for us because children are still eager to learn at that age, they’re still willing to be with grandparents, yet they’re old enough to follow instructions. So over the years, we’ve taken trips to Williamsburg, Virginia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Savannah, Georgia.

This past week we took Chapman, our youngest grandchild, to Boston, Massachusetts.

We walked the Freedom Trail and visited Paul Revere’s home, re-enacted the Boston Tea Party, climbed Bunker Hill, and walked the deck of Old Ironsides.
Each night in the hotel we reviewed the experiences of the day and read brochures about events planned for the next day. Hopefully, he developed a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices our forefathers made so that we could enjoy the freedom in America.IMG_0245
One evening Chapman asked, “What is meant by ‘freedom’ in America?” I was able to talk to him about the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The freedom of religion, the freedom to bear arms, the freedom to travel, the freedom of speech and the freedom from government oppression which are sometimes not enjoyed in other cultures. One evening I heard him reading aloud the Preamble to the constitution – a copy of which he had purchased earlier that day.

If you’re a new grandparent or a potential grandparent, I assure you that you have many enjoyable experiences ahead. At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, I would recommend you do something similar with your grandchildren. It doesn’t have to be as elaborate or expensive as a trip to Boston. Chances are there are meaningful historical sites near where you live, and it would probably be more exciting for your child to sleep in a tent. But we found it makes their tenth birthday a little extra-special just to get away. It also gave us an opportunity to be alone with each child and pray with them about their future and express our desire for them to be faithful to the Lord.

We’ve discovered relationships deepen more when we travel alone with the grandchildren as opposed to traveling with their siblings or cousins. They gradually open up and confide in us about their fears and desires. We also found their parents were grateful for a little relief from constant childcare.

IMG_0011It’s fun to watch the excitement of children on their first flight and to see eyes light up when the plane lifts off. We get a kick out of watching them burst into a grin when the waitress surprises them with a birthday cake and candles. We enjoy seeing their appreciation for sailors and soldiers and patriots who risked their lives for liberty. I like over-hearing them phone their parents at night and wear their mom and dad out rambling on about everything that went on that day. “Buddy, don’t you think it’s time now for you to get to sleep?” the parents plead.

I also enjoyed seeing the grandkids get excited about being reunited with their parents at the end of the three-day trip. As we flew back from Boston this past Wednesday, Chapman mused, “Pop, it’s weird to think I was a thousand miles away from my mom and dad. But I was!” He obviously was a little homesick and extremely proud that he had endured such a lengthy and strenuous test of his maturity. It’s a challenge to be with grandparents for three whole days.

I’ve been reminded that there are some advantages to growing older. Relationships become increasingly important. Little comments and expressions mean a lot more. And you get a big thrill when you witness life through the eyes of a little child. The Bible does predict, “A little child will lead them.” To be honest, I probably get more out of those special trips with our grandchildren than they do. But then again that’s what “geezerhood” is all about!



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Your Job Matters to God – Part 6

Before I begin this final blog in my six-part series on the value of hard work, I want to pay tribute to hard-working mothers.  And, I want to give special thanks to the mothers who have chosen the highest career of all,  stay-at-home-moms.  No one has contributed more to our culture than the conscientious women…

Your Job Matters to God – Part 5

In this six-part series, we’ve been discussing the reasons God considers our daily work a significant value. We underscored that our job: (1) Enhances our self-esteem. When we accomplish something meaningful, we feel better about ourselves. (2) Develops our character. Even difficult, unpleasant work can toughen us up and deepen us spiritually. (3) Provides an…

Associate Minister’s Gathering

November 5-8, 2017

featuring Bob Russell

and Doyle Roth

Encouraging, Equipping and 

Empowering Associate Ministers

at Country Lake Retreat Center 

Click for more info


Special Thanks to Lisa Russell Photography 
for Website Photos