We Are Still Family
To My Grandsons: The World Has Changed, But We Are Still Family
by Dale Reeves
The last time I wrote to my grandsons I spoke about what a wonderful world we are living in. Today I write to you, Luke, Liam, and Miles, the day after we celebrated Mother’s Day with you, your moms, and Mamaw. Our world today looks a little different than the last time I shared some of my thoughts with you. It’s a bit different, and some things in our everyday routines have changed, but I want you to know how fortunate and blessed you three little guys are to have been born into this family.
Just a few months ago a contagious virus called COVID-19 showed up around the globe, and it has impacted us in many ways. We have not been able to gather in large groups in school, at work, or in our church building for quite some time. As you will learn as you grow up, your Pop Pop likes being with people. I love celebrations. I love relationships with others. I have no problem speaking with people I don’t really know, whether invited into a conversation or not. I am what many people call an extrovert. One of the groups that I love hanging out with is a bunch of guys known as Man Church. Just before this virus shut down many community and sports activities, I sat at a table with some other men who love Jesus, and together we came up with this definition . . .
Family: “A caring community created by God that consists of a multi-generational group related by kinship, common ancestry, and common purpose who navigate life together by showing mutual love, respect, and sacrifice for one another.”
The Family was God’s idea. It is a marvelous idea, because he knows that we humans learn how to work and play and interact with others by growing up in a home. We learn how to show love to each other, how to solve any differences of opinion, how to resolve conflicts with one another, how to show mutual respect to each other, and how to serve others the way Jesus challenged us to. I want you boys to know that you have some wonderful moms (and grandmas and mamaws, too!). They would do anything to show you how much they love you, how much they want to protect you, and how much they want to see you grow up to be godly men. You are so blessed. Not every child in the world is as fortunate as you to be born into a family like yours. And, your moms are worth celebrating more than just one holiday every year. I know there will come a day when they may embarrass you. There will come a day when you think you are smarter than your mom (and your dad, too). You may be brilliant in book learning and technology, but they will always be ahead of you in the wisdom department.
That’s why the wise King Solomon said, “My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction” (Proverbs 1:8, NLT).
Lessons Worth Passing On
The past two months have been very difficult for some grandparents who have not gotten to be with their grandkids because of the “stay-at-home” measures we have put in place to combat this virus. Your Mamaw and I count ourselves very privileged to get to see you often (whether in person or via FaceTime) during this season of our lives. We love having you swing in our backyard, eat at our table, enjoy a picnic outside—and can’t wait until we can go to the Cincinnati Zoo again! Here are a few lessons I want to impress on you from this season of “pause and reflect,” and they will serve you well in this life.
- Tend to Your Own Knittin’
You never had the chance to meet your great-grandma on my side, my mother. This was one of her favorite sayings whenever I was bothered about something that someone else was doing. She would say this phrase to me, “Tend to your own knittin’.” In other words, mind your own business, or “mind your own beeswax,” and stop worrying about what others are doing. We live in an age today in which it seems everyone has an opinion about everything and they are very quick to want to share those opinions through social media platforms, covering everything from whether or not everyone should wear a mask now to the causes and solutions to all of our societal ills. Be careful with your opinions, and when you share them, be sure to do so in the context of love, not judgment.
Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37, NIV).
- Not All Superheroes Wear Capes
When people hear the word “superhero” in our culture they tend to think about crime-fighters such as Batman and Superman who run around in tights, wear a colorful costume, and a cape, and have some extraordinary abilities. But really, being a hero means being able to take action when there’s trouble, despite risks. The real world has superheroes that appear as police officers, firefighters, first responders, doctors, nurses, dentists and dental hygienists. Often these days they have to wear PPE (personal protective equipment) in order to minimize exposure to hazards and illnesses. They are not to be feared because of the masks, gloves, and safety glasses and shields they wear, but they are to be respected for what they do in risking their lives in order to help heal others. Whenever you get the chance, thank them for what they do and for making the world a better place.
Ultimately, your greatest superhero is Jesus, who goes ahead of you to do battle for you. It is because of what he did to show you his love and the promise that God says he will never leave you that you don’t ever have to fear any situation. You may have some concerns, you may have some things you don’t like, you may wonder about what the future holds, but because of his great love you can always choose faith over fear.
- The Church Is Not a Building
When I was just a little older than Luke, I was taught a finger rhyme that goes like this:
“Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple,
Open the door and see all the people.”
Even though I learned that as a child, it was never correct because the church is not a building. The church IS the people. During this 2020 global pandemic, we have learned perhaps greater than ever before that the church doesn’t have to gather in a building in order to love others, feed others, share with others, meet with God, study God’s Word with others, and pray with and for others. We are a multi-generational community of faith created by God with a common purpose, learning to show mutual love, respect, and sacrifice for one another. Come to think of it, that is similar to the definition of Family I told you about earlier.
My brave and fearless grandsons, we are family. Not every child in the world is as fortunate as you. Never forget that.