“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”Deuteronomy 6:4-9
This morning our house is quiet. This is both a sad thing and a good thing. Max the Golden Retriever feels pretty much the same way. I know he misses the children, and his tail seemed to be wagging all the time when they were here, and he was great about Geoffrey using him as a furry jungle gym – but he took time out to hide too, when necessary.
I don’t know if there is a “perfect age” for grandchildren. In our case it has been, to date, every age we have experienced. Right now David is ten, Beks is eight, and Geoffrey is 16-months (Mr. T. in Bahrain is two and a half). And I am loving the way the older children can still be completely childlike, and silly, and free from being too self-conscious (until they are not), but also engage in more serious, complex conversation.
To that end Beks and I were talking about the Chronicles of Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. They watched a movie in class and have been talking about the story. I asked if she had read any of the books.
“The library only has two copies of the lion and witch one,” she said. “Everyone wants to check them out. So I read the second story.”
“That’s great!” I answered, “but they are so much better when you read them in order.”
So – and this is the wonder of a smartphone – I ordered a boxed set of the Narnia books while we were still talking. The books will be waiting – as a surprise – for Beks and David when they arrive home in Miami later today.
I am so excited that we are going to be talking about Aslan!
This is important; it’s something I have talked about before but bears repeating. We are not supposed to preach at our grandchildren, or corner them like we were street evangelists! Instead the grandparent opportunity is to love these children extravagantly, to pray for them every day, to pay attention to their lives, listen to their stories, know their hopes and dreams, understand their fears and questions, share honestly with them about our own love for God, and – as the scriptures instruct us, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
Did you hear that? “Give a reason for the hope that is within you.” And no-one is about to “ask you to give a reason” if they first don’t see the hope.
Our daughter and son-in-law love God, and the family attends a good church. The children are in a great position to one day make their own decision to follow Jesus.
In the meanwhile, I pray that David, Beks, Geoffrey, and Mr. T. will always see evidence of the hope that is within me (and their parents too)! And, now, it looks like we can enjoy some great conversations around The Chronicles of Narnia, and become introduced to one of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time.
How cool is that! – DEREK
Enjoy these photos, including checkers with great-grandma Grace, cooking and Jenga with Grandmama, and Beks taking her new ukulele seriously….