Home Alone – Not!

We’re getting a big dose of family time at home. Online meetings are nothing compared to the task of guiding children through distance learning classwork. As grandparents, my husband and I are deeply involved in the education process of a third grader. The word “alone” is not typically part of our routine. However, during the course of this new educational system, it is often preceded by the words “Leave me _ _ _ _ _.” 

Don’t get me wrong. I love having my family near. I’m just not used to having them so near so much of the time. Neither are they. We all want to get out to the coffee shops, department stores, and restaurants where we can mingle with other people. But, in the meantime, we are practicing our ability to view life from a grander, eternal perspective.

The Fruit of the Spirit, as presented in Galatians 5:22-23, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I keep working on these, sometimes more successfully than other times. I printed, framed, and set these verses in a place where I see them every day. It reminds me to give my best to the people I love most. 

There are times when I look at my grandson and consider how much he has grown since his first year of life. He has accomplished countless skills and abilities since the day he surprised himself by rolling over onto his tummy as an infant. Watching him concentrate to master new math and language skills, or finding the right bait to catch that big bass reminds me of the swift passage of time. Will his faith exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit as he reaches adulthood? Am I doing all I can to encourage that eventuality?

I view our concentrated time together as an opportunity as well as a challenge. Is my grandson learning how to live out the fruit of the Spirit? My chance to show him comes while we are not home alone. Thankfully, summer vacation brings new opportunities to grow our fruitfulness.

Send your thoughts to: barbhowe.org.

Welcome to the Grandparent Club!

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Photo courtesy of OC Gonzalez on Unsplash

The feeling of becoming a grandparent for the first time cannot adequately be described in words. It’s something that can only be defined in heart language, with its overflowing measure of joy, hope, and delight. Entering the grandparent club is a heady experience, to be sure.

I still recall one special moment when I held my infant grandson. As our eyes met, I realized my role in the long list of “everythings” he would need to learn. I read somewhere that grandparents contribute the greatest influence over children’s lives, second only to that of the parents. It caused me to think of all the ways we, as grandparents, have to contribute.

We can:

  • Teach grandsons how to be powerful men, or train them to be men of integrity.
  • Teach granddaughters how to be influential women, or encourage them to develop strong inner character.
  • Teach young ones to love their neighbor, or show them how to help others when needs arise.
  • Teach our grandchildren about God, or live in a way that demonstrates a daily commitment to Christ.

Here’s the catch: none of these ideals are mutually exclusive. They are all compatible.

I can honestly say, “Being a Christian grandparent is an action adventure, not a spectator sport.” Each day is a contest of will and stamina. But we all have a playbook – the Bible – to help us become star athletes. Let’s all get in the game.

We have a command from our Heavenly Father to pass along our faith to future generations. It’s our duty and an honor. Welcome to the club!

Tell me about your grandparenting experience at: barbhowe.org.

That Thing About Babies

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Photo courtesy of Jessica-to-oto-o at Unsplash

There is an intrinsically attractive quality that babies possess. It’s not that they have an interest in serving those around them; quite the opposite. Babies expect their caregivers to attend to their every need, day or night at the slightest whim. They are oblivious to the needs of moms and dads who are forced to function while severely sleep deprived.

So, what is it about babies? I believe their vulnerability and responsiveness to people is the thing that makes babies so attractive to virtually everyone.

I once watched a video of an infant who cried uncontrollably until her father whispered into her ear, “Everything is alright.” At the sound of his voice, she immediately ceased from bawling and started to coo softly. This loving father was able to calm his baby with three simple words.

Imagine the impact his words might have over the course of her lifetime. When this little girl heads out the door for her first day of school, her first date, or her first job, will she carry in her heart a reminder of this loving father? I hope she does. And I hope her father is thinking about how he will pass along his legacy of love to her children and to her children’s children.

Babies don’t stay babies for long. Ask anyone who has ever experienced parenthood. It gets more difficult over time to remember what developmental milestone that child accomplished at three months of age, or nine months of age. Each is worth recording. Every nurturing emotion is worth recording, even if they’re recorded years later.

If you haven’t already done so, why not start a journal of recollections from your grandchild’s early years? That’s how my memoir to my grandson began. If your grandchildren are older, try contemplating their unique personalities and talents.

Now imagine yourself writing a letter to each one about a special place they hold in your heart. Tell them how you are blessed for having had them in your life. The thing about babies is they don’t stay babies for long, but they never outgrow the need to feel loved for who they are.

Share your ideas at barbhowe.org.