We just celebrated another Fourth of July in the United States. You probably heard all the familiar refrains in speeches and songs about liberty and freedom. But what do we mean when we speak of liberty? Do you have a grasp of its meaning? The truth is that we cannot give what we do not have. How shall we leave a legacy of liberty to our grandchildren that conveys accurately the meaning and price of liberty if we don’t understand it ourselves?
It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.” He pointed out that when the shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s pasture, the sheep are undoubtedly grateful for the liberty the shepherd has secured. The wolf, on the other hand, views the shepherd as the destroyer of his liberty.
Many grandparents are looking for simple tools to help them guide their grandchildren toward a personal relationship with God in Christ. One of the most powerful tools for doing that is prayer, but sometimes we try to make it too complicated.
Ernie Rosenberg knows that challenge all too well. Having devoted a great deal of his time cultivating the discipline of prayer, Ernie has agreed to share one way parents and grandparents can help a child learn important truths about who God is and how he views them as a person created in His image.
I hope you will find his article a helpful tool in this important spiritual discipline. Grandparents are often in a unique position to influence a child, and what better way to do that than to introduce them to their heavenly Father through prayer. Be sure to also check out Ernie’s web site: www.mychildsprayers.com
Do you remember bedtime with your children when they were young? If they were like mine, you probably found them sometimes resistant, sometimes playful, and sometimes contemplative. There were also those moments when they were eager to talk about more serious things…things that they might not understand, but were none-the-less important to them. Perhaps they had been hurt by a friend, or were grieving the passing of a pet. For me, bedtime was often a time when my children turned inward—a very, very special time. I regret that I did not do more to make it a significant time for the most special of friends—God, the Father. Perhaps, like me, you’d like to make it a more significant time with your grandchildren…
As part of a church’s children’s program one young lad was asked who hero was. He answered without hesitation, “My Dad”! Men, you know there are few things that will make a dad’s chest swell with pride like hearing his son call him a hero.
On this Father’s Day I wonder how many grandfathers would be seen as heroes in the eyes of their grandchildren. I wrote about heroes in some articles a few months ago. In one of those I asked the question of grandfathers, “Are you worthy to be called a ‘hero’ by your grandchildren?”
I believe with all my heart that a key role grandparents are given in the family is that of storyteller. The power of story is undisputed when it comes to impressing upon hearts and minds the truths of God’s world and work in our lives. Stories stick in our mind. They flesh out truth so that it becomes more than information. It is something we can visualize and vicariously experience…and thus, it comes alive in us.
Jesus taught with parables (stories) constantly, and while some seemed more like riddles to the hearers, the impact of these stories are still transforming lives today. The Bible is God’s story… and ours. As grandparents, we need to tell our stories so that the next generations can see how these stories are woven into the bigger reality of God’s redemptive story.
That’s exactly what Mark Adcock has done in his book, A Call to Grandparenting: Lessons Learned on Papa’s Pond. As a grandfather himself, Mark shares his stories of his own grandfather and the impact in his own life. They serve as an example for us, whatever our situation, to be faithful in telling our story so that another generation will grasp the story of which they are a part and understand who they are, who God is, and why they are here.