The joy of grandchildren

By Helen Guilford - Special to The Expositor

I was enthralled the other evening to hear a neighbor replay how nicely his grandson reported on his recent mission trip to Philadelphia. He listened raptly and thrilled at watching his young grandson not only give the report he had prepared but also respond to questions from the audience. Absolutely thrilled by this grandson. And proud, too!

Yeah, these kids move you, don’t they? I have a tendency to choke up at the smallest things when least expected. I just call that a “guilfordism” as both brothers and Dad did the same, but get choked up watching and listening to a grandkid? Not me! Since I never married and, therefore, had no children, I have no biological grandchildren. I do, however, have “adopted” grandchildren. As one teenage boy, who was an adopted child, introduced me one time, “She’s my grandma. No papers or anything, but she’s my grandma!” And you didn’t argue with him.

That was a few years ago, but the grandma name still wears well.

I hadn’t planned to go on the annual mission trip to Nicaragua this fall. Thirteen trips was enough! I can’t put in the hard day’s work I could those 13 years ago. In fact, sometimes it seems I don’t really accomplish much of anything. So, I just wouldn’t go again.

Yet, as I went from yard sale to yard sale, I couldn’t help looking for those items which could be easily be packed, not weigh too much, and still be a nice handout to some child or teen. Yes, I even bought some things, at the time, not knowing why.

Then, my grandson let me know he was trying to put together enough money to go on the fall mission trip again. He has gone twice and each time it has been a time of spiritual growth for him. So if he really was working in that direction, I would help him, and, of course, that meant I, too, will be making the trip. Well, that decision was made for me.

He had decided not to go to church camp this summer because he thought he would have a summer job and wouldn’t want to take off work. When the job didn’t work out, I asked if he wanted to go to camp and got a resounding yes. Okay, I would sponsor him.

About two weeks later, I heard from another lady in church that he had decided not to go. Time for a phone call! Why? He told me he thought if he didn’t go to camp, maybe he could get Grandma (me!) to put that money toward his mission trip. Hey! He’s really thought this through, hasn’t he? I assured him one did not affect the other and he should go to camp.

Who had put it in his mind he should pay for his mission trip? That was his own doing. He decided since he had already gone twice, he should pay as much of his own way as possible.

I have to admire the guy! He wants to go on the mission trip badly enough he would forfeit his church camp experience (a week I know he has anticipated ever since last summer). He is intent enough he will leave no stone unturned to make it happen. While in Nicaragua, he casually but earnestly says, “I really like it here!”

I know you have your own grandkid stories to tell. I know yours also cause you to choke up from time to time. Enjoy them. All too soon they’re finished with high school and entering the next phase of life. All we can do at this point is plant the seeds and entrust the kids to God that they might grow into flourishing, fruit-bearing products.

Oh, yes, there is one other thing we can do, too – and vitally important it is – pray for those grandchildren as you did (and do) for you children. Today’s world is so demanding, so taxing, so confusing and frustrating. Our kids need all the help we can give them.

By Helen Guilford

Special to The Expositor