I’ve heard it said that in the grand scheme of things being a grandparent is far more fun than being a parent—spoil them rotten, then send them home. How perfect is that? I also realize that some grandparents are doing double duty as they fill the role of raising their grandkids—bless you! Whatever the situation in your family, did you know there is an official Grandparents Day? It’s a day to celebrate you! Grandparents Day is one of those little known celebrations and tomorrow, September 7, is the official day. If you haven’t received a card by now it may not be coming, but stay by the phone just in case. If no one in your family remembers, don’t despair. Please know that you are important.

It seems there are basically two ways to learn what we need to know in life. We are either taught or modeled the right way or we observe what’s going on around us with the resulting tragic consequences. By seeing the good and the bad, we learn what to do or not to do, and grandparents, you are important in all of this. Values are passed on by example if not by intentional teaching, and children and grandchildren often imitate what they see in the lives of the adults in their families. A case in point would be two sets of grandparents in the Bible. In the New Testament there is one humdinger of a “what not to do” example and in the Old Testament there is the record of a family where the outcome was totally different.

The Herod family is one of the most notorious families in the New Testament and shows the example the grandparents set for those who followed. Herod the Great, the grandfather, was a builder of great things and helped repair the Temple in Jerusalem. He was also a destroyer of people, including all the infants in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Antipas, one of Herod’s sons, executed John the Baptist and participated in Jesus’ trial with spite and mockery. Agrippa I and Agrippa II, Herod’s grandson and great-grandson attacked the early church, one murdering the Apostle James and the other participating in the trial of the Apostle Paul. Following in the footsteps of the generation before them, each allowed the weaknesses, mistakes and missed opportunities they learned by example to stop them within hearing distance of the gospel. None made the life-changing decision to allow God into their life. In the process many lives were destroyed, including their own. You can read their stories for yourself.

At the end of the book of Ruth there is a record of the lineage of King David. Great-grandpa Boaz takes Ruth as his wife, their son, Obed, gives them their grandson, Jesse, and finally great-grandson David comes along, whom God declares to be a man after His own heart. What influence did these grandparents provide for their family? Their godly character was an example for those who followed, as was their love and obedience to God. Ruth chose the true God over family idols and Boaz showed kindness in providing for a foreigner and her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. And let’s not forget Boaz’ grandmother Rahab, of Jericho fame. She trusted in God and His promises.

Family dynamics are complicated and often challenging, but grandparents, you can have great influence in the lives of your grandchildren, either for good or for bad. Make sure you are walking in a way that is pleasing to God and are encouraging your grandchildren to do the same. Happy Grandparents Day!