August 1, 2021

Today’s post was originally titled “HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE YOUR GRANDPARENTS?”, and was published on September 13, 2020. As you can see, I have changed the title in order to specifically honor my Granddaddy Jay Sinclair, who was born August 6, 1891. My Granddaddy Jay was a veteran of WWI, and often had to fight in hand-to-hand combat. God knows how much I miss him.

Unfortunately, many people do not know that today is Grandparents Day all over America.  When I first heard of Grandparents Day becoming a recognized day to celebrate grandparents in 1979, I wrongly thought, “Well, this is just another day that big business started to sell more merchandise and greetings cards.”  I was happy to learn that that was not the intent of many common people who pushed for this day for many years.

The first person who lobbied for a day of celebrating grandparents was a pre-teen-aged boy who wrote a letter to President Richard Nixon asking him if he could make such a day become a recognized holiday. The youth went to a lot of detail telling Nixon what wonderful grandparents he had.

It took many years for different groups of common people to eventually get this dream to full fruition.  In 1978, President Jimmy Carter declared the first Sunday after Labor Day would officially be celebrated as Grandparents Day.

I am happy this holiday became a national day of recognition for grandparents and all the contributions they have made toward their grandchildren and society in general.

I am happier, though, to be able to say that I never needed a holiday to recognize my grandparent’s love for me.

I could write a book on each of my four grandparents and their lives and how they each influenced me and affected my whole life. 

I wish I had time to write such a book, but even without such a written testimonial to them, they will all live forever in the memories of all my children and grandchildren as I have made it a conscious point in my life to share in oral history what my grandparents’ lives were like – how important they were to their families.

Such a holiday as Grandparent’s Day was and is a great way of remembering our grandparents.  Many grandparents, unfortunately, are relegated to a lesser role in the lives of their grandchildren than should be.

One of my seminary assignments many years ago was to write an essay on what I thought was causing a break down in our current society.  I had many opinions that I explained in the essay 35 years ago, and they are proving to be more true today than when I first wrote about them.

I won’t explain the whole essay but do want to point out two of my opinions. First I wrote of the break down in the family. I used the current statistics at the time of the trend of there being fewer and fewer two-parent families. Of course, I couldn’t lose the opportunity to make a big jab at our government for being complicit in this trend. That’s another essay in itself.

Secondly, I pointed out the breakdown in the family being partly due to parents not teaching their children the value of living for God. I quoted the scripture from Deut. 11: 8-19 which I will paraphrase for shortness. “Teach all the commandments to your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”  I will also opine that that commandment applies to grandparents teaching to their grandchildren.   I made an A on my essay.

That philosophy of teaching children to know about and live for God has paid off for Sandra and me. All three of our children were and are devout Christians and have done their best to teach those lessons to their children.

You may think I have strayed from my topic a little. But not so. Here’s an example:

Many years ago when the TV series The Waltons came to be so popular (and still so in reruns) Sandra and I enjoyed watching the show.  What I liked best about the show was their collective struggles during the great depression of the ’30s and how they survived by depending on God’s help and guidance. The Walton family was big – multi-generation all living in the same house. My favorite character was the grandfather. He gave advise to the whole family as they sought it from him knowing he was wiser due to his many years of life experience.   Much later, after the show ceased production, I was watching a documentary on the series and learned that Grandpa Walton received more fan mail than any other character on the show. Many of the letters he received were from young people asking his advice on a variety of concerns.

I pointed out this multi-generation family living in the essay I spoke of above.  I have personally seen and experienced such living arrangements. The whole family being connected together and helping one another in life.

I have spoken of people honoring their grandparents. And Sandra and I have been the recipients of our five grandchildren all loving us and telling and showing how much they love us.

One of my favorite things about our grandchildren loving us is the way they call us and write to us telling us how much they love us and just wanted to check on us to see how we are doing

I have a big drawer in my office desk where I have saved all these letters and cards through the years. All are precious to Sandra and me.

Our youngest granddaughter, Summer, who has lived with us or near us all her life is very artistic.  She would always write to us with drawings on her letters. These are priceless and yes, they are in that special drawer, all but one.

The one that is not in that special drawer is because it’s in a picture frame in my office. I think it was a Father’s Day occasion when she gave it to me. Summer was around six years old at the time. The frame she put the picture in is about 6 inches wide and 8 inches tall. She drew a stick picture of herself and me holding hands. She even showed (and I think exaggerated) my big fat stomach I had at the time. The caption she wrote on her drawing said, “I love Paw Paw.” And she signed her name to it.

But one of the great parts of that gift was written by the manufacturer who made the frame. There was a quote as though from a child that was very important to me. And I hope it will be for all grandparents who may read this post.

The quote is:  “ A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but that the world may be different because I was important in the life of my Grandpa.”

Remember the part of that great poem that says, “the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.”

If you love your grandparents and they are still living, Give them a phone call today. Don’t write a text or email to them unless that’s all you can do.  Send them a hand-written letter, not a fancy or expensive greeting card. I bet your grandparents have a special drawer too.

I was longer on the length of this post than usual, but I thought what I had to say was important.

God Bless You,
Spencer Plumley

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