We had an early Father’s Day celebration last night and it stirred up thoughts and memories and even drew out the best advice for daddies.
It started with our six year old granddaughter noticing our checker board and her mom asking her if she wanted to learn how to play. After some training with her mom she asked Papaw if he wanted to play and they started a game.
It brought back sweet memories of my childhood, playing checkers with my grandpa who had grown up in Sweden himself. It was the only game my grandparents had. But Grandpa was willing to play with me often and I always think of him when I think of checkers. And vice versa.
Grandma and Grandpa had almost no toys at their home, but they did have a big back yard. And they hung two swings for their grandchildren from two of their oak trees and a hammock (I never saw them rest in) between two other trees, where we siblings and cousins could gently sway in the shady nest of it.
After supper our grands all ran outside to play. And I saw childhood memories reflected again. I didn’t set out to follow my grandparents but I smiled as I noted our two swings hanging from two tall trees and our hammock strung up between two shade trees.
One thing we don’t have, that my grandparents did, is a large propane tank to climb on and straddle and have all types of imaginative adventures “riding”. So, our grands who are old enough and able shinny up the clothesline pole and sit on or hang from the top of it and jump off and make their adult relatives nervous but impressed.
At one point during our visit I joined two of our sons who were sitting in the living room with my husband. One of them said, “Well, Dad, what advice do you have for us now that you’ve raised your kids?”
Jeff thought a few seconds and simply said, “Pray more.”
He went on to say that he knew his own dad got on his knees every day and prayed for each of his children and grandchildren. And Jeff realized he counted on those prayers. After his dad passed on he decided he needed to fill the gap and so he prayed more. And as life brought more challenges he prayed even more.
I didn’t get to hear the rest of the conversation, as grands called for water refills, but I loved the advice and the legacy it represented. I remember seeing both of my grandpas reading their Bibles when I stayed over with them. And I remember walking down the country road to the little white church with my Grandpa on summer visits.
I don’t recall ever seeing my dad on his knees in prayer, but I do know he prayed and we talked about God often and he brought us to church faithfully and read us Bible stories every night when we were young.
And now I see my young grands, running barefoot in the same grass their own daddies ran in. I see our three year old grandson flop his tummy on the swing and run fast and pick up his feet as he holds his arms out and flies. I see all of them licking the melting Dilly Bars that dripped often in my childhood and in the childhood of their fathers.
And I love that we share so many similar experiences from generation to generation. And I love the heritage our family has of fathers who trusted Jesus and covered their loved ones in prayer.
I’m thankful our grown children visit and our grandchildren give us hugs. I’m grateful for little fingers sticky with melting Dilly Bars. And I love hearing that our grands are excited to come to Mimi and Papaw’s house because “they have big swings and that pole thing to climb.”
But the thing I treasure the most is that our grands have fathers brilliant enough to ask, “What advice do you have for us, Dad?”
And they have a Papaw wise enough to answer, “Pray more.”