Children, Family traditions, grandchildren, Gratitude, Holidays, Modeling the faith, Thanksgiving
One of the perks of living close to grandchildren is the privilege of attending their school programs. And once a year the local public schools host a “Grandparents Day” when they invite grandparents into their grandchild’s classroom for an hour to sit with them, meet the teacher, tour the school, and observe a little of the educational process. Yesterday my husband and I went to our grandson Caden’s classroom, along with many other proud grandmas and grandpas. We were impressed with the order and the creativity we observed, the energy and dedication of the teacher, the smiles on the children’s faces.
But I didn’t expect to be “part of the program.”
A week or so ago I received a letter in the mail written by Caden and mailed from the school. The teacher had given the students an assignment to write a letter to a grandparent asking about their family traditions when they were kids. You can believe I found the letter delightful. I gave the request thought. We do, of course, want to pass on a legacy to our grandchildren and share our histories with them; but the challenge comes in finding the right time and means (and “the teachable moment”).
I kept my reply short and hand-written, giving a few details from my childhood, then mailed it to Caden. I did wonder whether the teacher would see it, and what she would do with it.
Then yesterday, as I sat at Caden’s desk in a third-grade classroom full of boys and girls and grandmas and grandpas, I was surprised when the teacher explained about the letters. She held in her hand the response I had sent to Caden. Then she called Caden forward to read my letter to the class! He did so—loudly, clearly and happily. This “blew me away,” as they say.
Here is what I wrote and Caden read:
Thank you for asking about my family traditions. When I was a girl my father was a preacher, so many of our traditions happened at church, with special services on Christmas and Easter. There was exciting music, lots of people, and the children had special parts. I usually got a new dress on those holidays. And my mother cooked delicious dinners. My favorite Sunday dinner was fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Every year I looked forward to two big events: Christmas and summer camp! We also celebrated Thanksgiving. I loved the smell of Turkey dinner roasting in the oven. My sister, Beverly, and I kept asking, “Is it done yet?” To help us wait, Daddy encouraged us to make lists of all the things we were thankful for. Even today, when I’m feeling impatient, it helps to stop and think of the things I’m thankful for. Today, grandchildren are at the top of my list!
Most days we don’t wake up with the thought, “How can I show the world I’m a Christian—and the difference faith in Jesus makes—today?” We just live life and let Him lead. And the same goes for passing on to the next generations our values, faith, and life lessons learned.
Sometimes the opportunities come in serendipitous ways.