Friday September 18th 2015 will always be a date in my personal history as that is the day my wife and I became Grandparents. To our daughter Helen and husband Glenn was born a beautiful daughter named Rose. We are thankful to the many people surrounding our lives who have congratulated us and grateful to God that all went well and the new family are home safe and sound.
According to Proverbs 17:6 “Grandchildren are like a crown to older people. And children are proud of their parents.” (NIRV). I'm not so sure I went to make too much out of the 'older people' part of that verse, but I'll happily wear the crown. If I'd read this verse, before we went to Burger King on the way to visit the hospital where she was born, I might just have asked if I could have had one of their cardboard crowns as an expression of my new biblical appointment. However with every biblical appointment there also comes responsibility!
A rabbinical story tells of a character called Honi who is journeying along the road when he sees a man planting a carob tree. He asks him,' How long does it take for this tree to bear fruit? The man replied: 'Seventy years'. He then further asked him: 'Are you certain that you will live another seventy years?' The man replied: 'I found grown carob trees in the world; as my forefathers planted these for me so I too plant these for my children.'
The idea in the story is that wherever we are in life, be it in our youth or our old age, be it as parents or grandparents, we are in the business of creating a legacy. Although the seeds we plant in the lives of others might take time to bear fruit, our responsibility is to be faithful planters. It is a wonderful thing as a parent to witness your children becoming parents. There is a prayer on your lips that however you are involved in the life of this newly created extended family, that your influence can be a positive one that helps new life mature and grow.
Nobody can predict the kind of challenges and situations each successive generation may face. When one considers the world into which we were personally born, to the world as it is today, there are moments when you just stand back and say 'Never saw that coming!' Yet there remain some constant themes that do not change.
Love. Hope. Faith. Encouragement. Tolerance. Kindness. Generosity. Joy. Such are timeless foundational gifts and virtues. These are things we can all pursue and plant in each others lives. Though the world around us will constantly change and sometimes confound us, if we continue to focus on the core values that bring contentment and peace then we are creating a heritage that can be passed on from age to age and from generation to generation. Maybe for all of us our legacy is our crowning achievement!
For some music... what came to mind was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and their evocative song "Teach Your Children Well"and this video which addresses the song's theme: 'What are the social ramifications of our actions on our children?' Timeless subject!
Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D.