From generation to generation
by Victor Leslie, Lt. Colonel –
I was thumbing through the King James Version Bible that my father gave me more than 30 years ago, when the phrase “from generation to generation” came to mind. I had read Luke 1:50, And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation before, but this time I paused for a moment and smiled. Here I was at the beginning of another life transition, having recently welcomed a granddaughter into our family and anticipating the new role I was to play—that of grandfather.
I do not remember ever meeting my own grandfather, but my daughters surely knew theirs. From generation to generation, he was to them the fountain of love, wisdom, humor, storytelling and absolute faith in God. He had a real impact in the lives of my children and my sibling’s children, teaching a new generation how to honor family traditions, and how to safeguard the family through both the times when we were together and when we were apart. His example helped to foster a sense of belonging that will forever be a source of joy, and above all, he left all his grandchildren the indispensable legacy of what it means to follow Christ wholeheartedly.
Now, it is my turn to be a grandfather! It is my turn to lift high the torch of a godly life and pass it on to the next generation. It is my responsibility to continue sharing the promise of blessings given in Isaiah 44: 3, I will pour out my Spirit into your children and my blessing on your descendants. It is my turn to open my mouth to illustrate points, to explain things that we have heard and known about, things that our parents have told us, to tell the next generation about the Lord’s power and great deeds and the miraculous things he has done…so that the next generation would know them and children yet to be born would learn them and grow up and tell their children to trust God, to remember what he has done, and to obey his commands (Psalm 78: 2-7).
It is my joy to help my granddaughter understand my abiding faith and hope in God who is such a very present help, that the undercurrents and turbulence of daily living are easily navigated and conquered. Like my dad, I hope to model how wonderful it is to walk with God, talk with God, praise my God and live for God. With her grandmother, I plan to seize every opportunity to talk with her about our own trust in God, of how God has proven himself faithful and good to us, and of how we have drawn and continue to drink from the depth of his love and mercy in both times of joy and trouble. In doing so, we will be obeying Deuteronomy 4:9: Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
I look forward to creating new memories by contributing in a positive and healthy way to my granddaughter’s physical needs—wiping runny noses, changing diapers, and helping to cook and clean—yes, I can cook! I hope to share both knowledge and wisdom and to participate somewhat in advice-giving, affirming and encouraging, while not intruding too much in the parenting process. Like every grandparent I know, I cannot wait to be her imagination coach, helping her to engage in the world, to live with anticipation (and to write reggae songs) as she finds excitement in life’s daily experiences. Together we will create eternal memories that she will fondly remember; memories that will absolutely bond our generations together and strengthen familial love to a level that spans our lifetimes.
Yet, if these memories do not help her discover who she is in Christ, I would not have properly done my job as her grandfather. For, in the final analysis, what matters are only those things that have an eternal value. Therefore, I must remember to not define our lives or seek meaning in life in terms of our designated roles or through human efforts. Neither should I hope to win her praise and love by leaving a temporal inheritance of money and property, even though Proverbs 13: 22 says that a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. In the eternal scheme of things none of these things are priceless. It will not matter if my hair is grey or if I can write rhymes for her to sing. What will be of substance is my spiritual commitment to help her develop strong Christian faith, hope and love as she grows up in grace and the milk of the Word. For sure, His mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation (Luke 1: 50).