Unnoticed Influences on Children
If you were asked what influences were in your life which caused you to become the person you are today, what would you say? More specifically, let me focus the question to ask about what impacted your life spiritually to walk with the Lord. What influenced you to be a follower of God?
There are the obvious answers to the question. The first impact on an infant is often his/her parents. A child’s view of His heavenly father is often shaped by having a godly father on this earth. When my brother wrote his graduate thesis on how John used the word “faith,” he dedicated the thesis using these words, “To my mother in whose lap I first heard the word faith and to my father in whose life I saw it every day.” There are many other obvious answers, and we should be thankful for each of them.
However, there are others who impacted our lives far more than we realize. In our youth we may not see it, but as we get older and look back it becomes more obvious. Parents greatly impact our lives, but have you ever considered just how much grandparents often more silently change our lives?
You know of three preachers of whom this is true. They are Dan, David and Josh. Over the years, I have heard them talk about their grandfather’s spirituality. This is not to minimize the importance of the obvious impact their parents had on them but simply to magnify the role God saw for grandparents. Just ask any of the preachers about their grandparents. You will be amazed at these unnoticed influences.
God understood the impact grandparents can have. The month before his death, as the Jews were about to enter the promised land, Moses’ final words were, “And teach them to your children and your grandchildren” (Deut. 4:9). Solomon even described how grandchildren are the crown God gives to grandparents (Prov. 17:6).
The role grandparents can play is vividly seen in the life of Timothy. As a youth, likely still in his teens, Timothy was respected by those who knew him, not only in his hometown but in a city over 30 miles away. How did that come about? Hear Paul talk about the origin of Timothy’s faith. His genuine faith “…dwelt first in his grandmother, Lois” (2 Tim. 1:5). We may have seen Timothy as being godly like his mother, but God saw it differently. He saw where that same faith first was found.
Not all are grandparents, but let me urge every grandparent who reads these words to fulfil the role God has for you. Your impact on children does not end when your children are grown. There is another place God has for you. It may be unnoticed by many, but realize that in some areas you can have a greater influence on them than their own parents!