By Irven Lee
I am referring to grandchildren. “Let me tell you about my grandchildren.” You older people know what I am saying, and you younger people have heard us make our share of the comments. Grandchildren are the children of a younger generation, and they will soon become the adults who face the responsibilities that we have tried to meet. We who are older have our concerns and joys in these young ones just as the parents have. We have our duties to them which we should not forget.
My grandchildren seem to be special, and their accomplishments are important to me. Is it that way with yours? Ours stand out in the crowd, do they not? Every child needs to be special to an inner circle of people that he can call his people where there can be mutual love and respect.
Moses preached several sermons when he was old and fast approached the day of his death. These sermons are in print, and we call them the book of Deuteronomy. In this book, he reviewed the many experiences of the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings. He also repeated the commandments and judgments of God and insisted on his hearers obeying them. Great emphasis was given to their responsibility to teach these laws to their children and to their grandchildren (Deut. 6:6-9; 29:29). He would say, “Teach them to thy sons and thy sons’ sons” (Deut. 4:9). Moses knew the great tendency of people to follow the crowd about them, so he asked both parents and grandparents to be involved in trying to save the children through teaching.
Both Eunice and Lois were evidently involved in teaching Timothy (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:14, 15). Fathers have special duties toward their children. This does not make me feel too comfortable because I have not done all that a father and grandfather should do. Have you done all that you should have done for your children and grandchildren? My wife has done more than I. It is good that there are women who take the place of both Lois and Eunice in our generation. It is a shame that there are not more parents who realize their responsibility to train their children (See Prov. 22:6).
My grandchildren were once little and helpless, but they are now reaching the height of their parents or going above them. As their bodies and minds have developed from that day of birth, the work of parents and grandparents has changed, but it has not diminished one little bit from the days when they protected, fed, and watched over those who were learning to walk and talk. You and I want our descendants to be faithful children of God, do we not? This is no easy task. I am thinking of the task of protecting and watching over those who are setting the sails which will determine the direction of their lives. They are growing up into a bigger world, and it is filled with immorality, doubt and unbelief, materialism, and drugs that can enslave them.
I am thankful that my children did not seriously injure themselves by falling out of trees, wrecking bicycles, or any other such opportunity for injury. They are all capable of making themselves useful influences in this wicked world. The possibilities are there, but the possibilities of killing themselves in reckless living and of sowing to the flesh are also there. You and I should know what cars can do to people on the road and what evil companions can do to those who must meet powerful temptations in the tenderness of youth. Can we find wisdom to help with love and understanding? The idea scares me!
My grandchildren have all been baptized into Christ, and they show an active interest in the church. This does my heart good. They seem to become more precious to their loved ones as they grow older. What could be more heart-breaking now than for one to yield to the flesh and fall into worldliness? Brethren in Christ who have had to face this sorrow and those who have not can understand our feeling of hope and fear.
Three of our four grandchildren have licenses or permits to drive cars. They are getting experience. Let us hope and pray that they may all realize that cars are not toys for adventure and thrills. The growing cost of cars and fuel may have a sobering effect on the young people of this generation, but at present it does not appear to have such. Many youths feel that money grows on trees and that they have only to ask their parents for an unlimited supply. It is a great lesson for any child to learn that money must be earned by the sweat of the brow and that neither he nor his parents has a right to that which he had not earned. Each young person should begin to earn when he has reached the age when he can with proper safety and discretion. Work is honorable, and learning to produce is a lesson that children may not learn easily from parents.
Falling in love with money is a danger that stands in front of all of us. One may come to have his eyes set on material gain to such an extent that the dollar becomes his god (Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5). Time will reveal whether my grandchildren can use their money wisely as adults for the essentials of life so that they can bless others or whether they will use it for foolish fancies. We may hope and pray that they will put the kingdom and righteousness of God above the passing pleasures that money can provide (Matt. 6:33).
We are now to see the years rapidly pass while they will mature, finish school, become independent, and then marry. What if one makes a serious mistake in choosing a companion for marriage? I like to think that our children have some of the awareness of how important the decision is, but there is such a thing as being swept off one’s feet by the flattery and fair speech of the woman described in Proverbs seven. It is so easy to confuse lust and love, or physical attraction and spiritual beauty. I may get to live to see them all happily married. This would be a beautiful dream come true. If one is to make a failure in marriage, I hope death may take me first so that I will not have to see it. It must be wonderful to see great-grandchildren who are born to parents who are Christians, but I pray to be spared the horror of having great-grandchildren who are born into unstable homes where strife will surround them rather than love and faithfulness.
You may have wanted to tell me about your grandchildren, but I have the advantage of you in this medium of communication. I get to do all the talking. The truth is that this is an effort to communicate with all you parents and grandparents and children who happen to read this. The happiness of the young and old depends on the conduct, wisdom, and choices of the young people who are very precious to us.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 18, pp. 294-295
May 1, 1980