Grandparents are wonderful!  If you are a grandparent, don’t underestimate the impact you have on your grandkids.  If you still have your grandparents around, take time to listen and learn from them.  They love you more than words can express, and they have a lot of wisdom to share.

Just recently, I said good-bye to my last surviving grandparent. My grandma Matilda was (and still is) a saint!  She always had time for us. My grandmother played with us, cooked for us, took care of us, and affirmed us. I never doubted that she loved me. She taught me how to love, to believe in God, and to be wise – never putting my own interests ahead of God and the good of others.

Toward the end of her life here on earth, I asked her what wisdom she would pass on to her family and to the next generation.  Here are three themes from her to me:

Love God and live by the Golden Rule.
My grandmother was a devoted disciple of Jesus.  She prayed each day for all of us and for guidance and wisdom in her own life.  She studied the Bible.  She loved some of the old hymns, like “I’d Rather Have Jesus” and “Living For Jesus.”  She faithfully attended church and participated in many areas of service in Pella.  She visited and cared for many who were disabled and elderly.  She gave abundantly by serving meals, spending time with, and financially supporting services for those in need.  Grandma loved all people, of all nationalities, ages, and backgrounds.  She may not have understood some perspectives and did not approve of some lifestyles or choices, but she loved and cared for anyone in her path.

Cherish your family.
Grandma was passionate about her marriage, her children, her siblings, her grandkids, her cousins…I think she cherished each and every family member.  She actively took part in family get-togethers, trips, activities and reunions.  I remember she sounded very disappointed when I could not make a family reunion on her side of the family.  Grandma connected us to each other.  She was always motivated to enjoy meals, games, walks (for as long as she was able) and activities with her family.  Cherishing her family seemed to bring her great joy, and I can tell you that I deeply cherish my times with her…now more than ever.

You are blessed to be a blessing.
I think Grandma took the biblical principle that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” very seriously.  My grandmother lived very simply and asked for very little.  After observing many lives, including hers, over the course of my life, I’m convinced that her commitment to living out this principle is right on.  It seems to me that when we focus on what we can get out of life, we become crankier, more selfish, and unhappier.  But when we focus our attention upward and outward, toward a God who loves us and ask how we can bless others, we become more relaxed and often excited about participating in the lives of others.

Thank you, Grandma, for your wisdom and your example to me.