The Beauty and Power of Grandparenting

by Kirk Walden, Advancement SpecialistHenry
Heartbeat International

Braggadocio alert: I’m a new grandparent, which means on Sunday, I'll celebrate my first Grandparent's Day as a grandpa. Any poor soul who encounters me for the next few years must endure endless photos and commentary, such as, “Isn’t that just the cutest smile in the world?”

I’ve found grandparenting is a club, of sorts. I show our pictures, I look at your pictures. We tell jokes about how the main reason we want our children to visit is to see the grandkid. We talk about how great it is to spoil the little one, then give him back so the parents must take on the hard work.

But let’s be honest: I did not earn the title, “Papa K,” by working for it. All I did was father a daughter 27 years ago. She grew up. Got married. Then, one day last November, Laura and husband Matt gave Jennifer and me a “pre-Christmas present,” a little bag with that fancy, thin paper in it. Inside was a pregnancy test. With a “+” sign.

Never have I been so happy to hold something my daughter tinkled on.

In pro-life terms, we were grandparents the moment the test turned positive. Well, earlier, but you get the point.

From there, we just waited around till the big day. When Henry was born, we hugged, high-fived and cried. It’s what you do, apparently.

Because Matt and Laura live next door, two-month-old Henry is an integral part of our existence. They pop down with the little poop machine almost daily. We hold him, talk about him, relish his every wiggle. As for me, I even took him for a mile walk in his stroller, solo. I’m good at this.

And—thank goodness—I haven’t yet changed a diaper. Not that I can’t, because I can switch out a diaper faster than a NASCAR pit crew changes tires at the Daytona 500. But I don’t have to. Which is one of the top reasons grandparenting beats parenting, any day.

But there is something more to this grandparenting gig. A letter from a guy named Paul to his protégé, Timothy, highlights this “something more.”

In his letter, Paul writes, “I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.”

Grandmother Lois only gets this one mention in the letter we know as II Timothy. Yet Lois passed her faith on to her daughter. Who passed faith on to Timothy. And Timothy? He was the right-hand of perhaps the greatest of the apostles, the most prolific author in the New Testament.

Without Lois, would Eunice have had faith? Timothy? We don’t know. All we know is, Paul traces Timothy’s faith back to a grandparent.

Like Lois, we want to pass our faith to our children, who can do the same for their children. And we likely have opportunities to share our faith directly with our grandchildren, too. I’ll bet Timothy’s Mimi (that’s Lois, but she deserves a “grandparent name” for this article) did this on a regular basis.

Because we have a few extra years under our belts, we GPs (I’m making up new lingo as I go along) have stories of faith to tell those who follow behind us. So, while changing diapers is important (ask any baby who hasn’t been changed for a while), perhaps this faith thing is an even bigger deal.

The next time Henry comes over then, I might tell him a story. About my faith and what God did in my life. He may not understand, yet. But one day, perhaps he will.

He won’t remember if I change his diaper, anyway.