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HOW TO BE YOUR GRANDPARENT'S FAVORITE, Part 1

Grandparents and grandchildren get along notoriously well. They have a lot in common. Besides having the same family tree, genes, and bloodline, they often can relate for social reasons. One boy sat beside his aged grandfather. The boy said, "Sometimes I drop my spoon." "I do too," replied the old man. "I often cry," continued the boy. The old man nodded, "So do I." "But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems grownups don't pay any attention to me." Just then the boy felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand. "I know what you mean," said the old man.

We should want to excel at everything we do-including being a grandchild. If you want God's secrets to being your grandparent's favorite grandchild, here they are.

First, talk respectfully to them. The general rules for young people dealing with older people apply here. In the Old Testament, God said, "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary' head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God... " (Lev, 19:3 2). God once taught some juvenile delinquents the hard way that He wants the older generation respected. When forty-two young men made fun of Elisha's bald head, God sent two shebears out of the woods to maul them to death (2 Kgs. 2:23,24)!

The New Testament continues, "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters.. with all purity. Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God" (I Tim. 5:1-4), Key words in this section are:

"Rebuke not" (piplesso, "to chastise with words"). Grandchildren-even teens-are not to correct or "get on to" their grandparents.

"Entreat" (parakaleo, "to call near, invite, invoke, call for, comfort"). Grandchildren are to be gentle and loving to their grandparents.

"Honour" (timao, "to prize, fix a valuation upon; to revere"). Grandchildren are to treat their grandparents like they are worth a million dollars.

"Show piety" (eusebeo, "to be pious towards God; to worship, or towards parents to respect or support"). This word is used of worship offered to God. Grandchildren are not to worship their grandparents, but they are to have a respectful attitude.

How? Show respect in both your speech and actions. The obvious applies here. S I ay, .,yes, Sir,'' and "No, ma'am;" and don't forget, "Please," and, "Thank you." But beyond that do the little things that show you respect them. Don't force your television or radio choices on them. Allow them to pick the restaurant where they will buy your meal (sure they'll pick the cafeteria instead of McD's, but you'll get a good dessert out of it). Don't interrupt when they are talking (as if what you have to say is more impor tant than what they are saying). When they ask you to do some thing, immediately comply-with a smile.

Second, spend a little extra time with them. It is generally easier to get young children to spend time with their grandparents. They always want to go to "granny's house." As the teen years come, and then the young adult-years, there may be more competition for these discretionary hours. We may be tempted to skip time with grandparents for friends-and later, boyfriends and girlfriends. Grandparents understand this, of course, but a wise grandchild makes time for both. Take the boy/girlfriend over to grandparents for an afternoon. It might be one of your more memorable dates. Once your grandparents aren't around, you'll treasure these memories more than you can comprehend right now.

The ancient heathen left their old family members exposed to die. That rarely happens today, but one can be cast off, even if supplied with a good mattress and excellent food. Grandparents need room and board', sure, but they need love and time even more. No one wants to feel forsaken (cf. Psa. 71-16-18). The wise man said, "Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old" (Prov. 23:22). These can be lonely years, especially when many of one's friends and perhaps even a mate have passed on. We must acknowledge their worth (honor) to us by caring for all their needs.

Think of Jacob and Joseph. An old man needs food and shelter, and this Joseph provided. An old man needs respect and honor, and this Joseph gave. But also, an old man needs to see his grandchildren (Prov. 17:6)! This Joseph provided by taking his sons to visit with their aged, sick, and nearly blind grandfather (Gen. 48). This is bound to have helped the lads, and it helped their grandfather. All God's laws work together.

One of the most thought-provoking pieces ever written on this subject must be the following article:

Yesterday was an old man's birthday. He was 91. He awakened earlier than usual, shaved, and put on his best clothes. Surely they would come today, he thought. He didn't take his daily walk to the gas station to visit with the old-timers of the community, because he wanted to be right there when they came. He sat on the front porch with a clear view of the road so he could see them coming. Surely they would come today. He decided to skip his noon nap because he wanted to be up when they came. He has six children. Two of his daughters and their married children live within four miles. They haven't been to see him for such a long time. But today was his birthday. Surely they would come today. At suppertime he refused to cut the cake and asked that the ice cream be left in the freezer. He wanted to wait and have dessert with them when they came. About 9 o'clock he went to his room and got ready for bed. His last words before turning out lights, were, "Promise to wake me up when they come." It was his birthday and he was 91.

When was the last time you visited your grandparents? What are you doing tonight?