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  • Shawn Thornton

Grateful for Grandparents

Tuesday - November 24th

Day 24: Attitude of Gratitude

Scripture to Read Today: Psalm 78:1-8

So the next generation would know them,

even the children yet to be born,

and they in turn would tell their children.

Psalm 78:6


Over the river and through the woods,

To grandfather's house we go;

The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,

Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!


Over the river and thru the woods,

Oh, how the wind does blow!

It stings the toes and bites the nose,

As over the ground we go.


Over the river and thru the wood,

To have a first-rate play;

Oh, hear the bell ring, "Ting-a-ling-ling!"

Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day-ay!


Do you know that song? I remember learning it in music class in second grade. Though I do not remember the music teacher's name at Fulmer Elementary, I remember her face, her voice, and the enthusiasm with which she taught us songs like "The Candyman Can," "This Land is Your Land," and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidosis." During the fall of my second-grade year, this nameless but excellent music teacher taught our class "Over the River and Through the Wood."


She sang this song with incredible energy and told the story with her voice as she taught our class. Even as a young boy, I imagined a long trip by sleigh to my Grandma's house (my dad's mom) and my Nana's house (my mom's mom). At the time, they each lived about 10-12 minutes from my house. The trip would not be a long one. But my mind's eye pictured our family traversing snow-covered hills (we lived in very flat Indiana) in a sleigh. I think I had reindeer, not horses guiding the sleigh.


Most things about my grandparents were idealized in my head as a kid. Grandma and Grandpa got channels from Chicago on their TV. Nana and Papaw gave us Vanilla Wafers and Pepsi when we stopped by their house. Nana's house had toys to ride with the cousins. Grandma's house was a great place to spend the night - our cousins on that side often stayed too.


My grandparents did not really spoil us. They loved us. They were down to earth and there for us as our family went through the struggles of my mom's traumatic brain injury. When mom was in a mental hospital for a few months, we stayed with Grandma. Nana and mom's sisters often came by and helped clean up our house to encourage mom.


Grandpa and Papaw were solid, always there kind of guys. Grandpa was ever the businessman - a proud 1931 graduate of Norte Dame University. Papaw was proud to call himself a hillbilly. Born and raised in Kentucky, he was a truck driver, a hard worker, and could always be found tinkering with an antique car in the garage. They were stable men. Caring grandparents. They were blessings from God.


Both sets of grandparents encouraged me in my faith and my early call to pastoral ministry. They were proud and supportive. They meant the world to me. When Lesli and I got married, we had all 8 of our grandparents living and all living in their own homes. They all got to hug and hold our oldest child, Jonathan (now about to turn 27). We have now said goodbye to all of our grandparents.


The impact of my grandparents on my life will never fade. They helped mold and shape me. They were there when I needed them most. They love me for being me - their grandson.


Psalm 78 shares the importance of telling our children and even our grandchildren of the goodness of our God. Verse six stresses how one generation shares about God with the next generation, and then that generation pours into the next generation the knowledge of God. Grandparents are part of the long term spiritual impact on their grandchildren.


Take a moment to thank God for your grandparents. Thank God for specific ways they were there for you when you needed them if they are gone now. Maybe you have grandchildren. Thank God for them. Be a part of their understanding of God and His world!


God uses grandparents to bless and build their grandchildren. Thank God for the gift of grandmas and grandpas!

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