Honoring Grandparents


By Ron Hull 

Grandparents’ Day is this Sunday (September 9). The first Sunday after Labor Day is one of our lesser known National Holidays and it was declared such in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. In the proclamation which he signed, the president declared the purpose of the day: “…to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”

Many pleasant memories come to mind when I think of my own grandparents, especially the two I was privileged to know. My (paternal) grandfather was a rugged individualist who never had (or wanted) indoor plumbing. He didn’t even have an “outhouse.” I can still remember his response when, as a child, I asked him “where did we go when, uh… we had to go?” He replied, “There’s 80 acres around here!” (We stayed overnight with other family when we visited grandpa in Oklahoma.)

“Bigmama” was the nickname of my (maternal) grandmother. The name didn’t match her size.

She never quite made it to five feet tall and her weight hovered around 100 pounds. But, in my memory, she lived large. When she was 3 years old, a tornado blew away the family home. As her folks started looking for all the kids, they found little Bessie up in a tree, asleep on a mattress that had been blown up there with her on it.

When grandma gave birth at home to twins, their combined weight was 16 pounds and my mother, who was 17 at the time, got her first mothering job until Bigmama could get back on her feet.

Over her lifetime, grandma continued to handle, or dodge, numerous difficulties, and even death a few times, until she finally passed away one month shy of her 105th birthday.

Precious memories, how they linger. And instruct. Inspire and motivate… Our grandparents connect us with our past, tell us something about who we are and how we came to be. And, if we are paying attention, how we can build on the legacy they left us.

Perhaps you were fortunate to have cherished grandparents too. If not, you might consider adopting, unofficially, grandparents who are worth emulating.

The Bible recognizes the importance of learning from those who have gone before us: “Remember the days of long ago; think about the generations past. Ask your father, and he will inform you. Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you” (Deuteronomy 32:7).

It just may be that the parents and grandparents you wish to honor with a listening ear will be eager to honor their (heavenly) Father: “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come” (Psalm 71:18).

Ron Hull is pastor of the Church of Christ. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2909.

Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church. 

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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