This week my granddaughter turns 15. She is a lovely young woman who is a scholar athlete. She writes songs, puts them to music and accompanies herself as she ministers to your heart. She has the ability to capture the experiences of life with her writing and make them applicable to others. Her lyrics reflect her developing theological understanding of reality. The joy of engaging her intellectual and creative abilities is matched by the excitement of watching her play varsity soccer and basketball.
You can see why I decided to take her to the performance of Macbeth last evening at my Alma Mater. Bob Jones University’s Classic Players provide the very best experience of Shakespeare. The costuming, the scenery and the acting are unmatched at the university level and revile Broadway. My wife gave up her season ticket to allow me to have a much younger date.
Here great grandfather stated a family tradition with her mother. No matter where we lived (often a 10-12 hour drive) Frank would make the trip to take her mother out to dinner for her birthday. This began when she was about eight and continued until she was married. I decided that he had a wonderful idea (only problem is he had one granddaughter and I have three). Building family traditions is important, but building family traditions by which we establish one-on-one relationships with our children and grandchildren takes this means of connecting to another level.
The Lord has graciously allowed my wife and me to travel around the world through our ministry. One day she made the suggestion that we should consider taking our grandchildren with us when they reach the age of around 12. We have been able to do this with four so far. This exposes them to another culture; to real life missionaries in the context of their lives; to the rigors of travel; and to the experience of engaging in cultivating a support team. From a family connecting vantage point, this gives us two or three weeks of focused time with each child—sometimes under very stressful conditions. We build memories. As grandparents we get to hear their hearts.
Macbeth provided the opportunity to connect on a number of levels. We took her to dinner at one of the best restaurants in town. My wife was able to very casually do a little finishing school instruction with respect to restaurant etiquette. Our seats are five rows back on stage right. We could appreciate the intricacies of the costuming and makeup as well as the facial expressions and gestures. At intermission we discussed Shakespeare’s wonderful ability to capture the matrix of human nature and the theological implications of human behavior.
The sophomore son of some friends met us and gave us a personal tour of many of the new buildings on campus. This was of special interest to Megan since he is a theater major. The tour also brought back some happy memories of my clumsy attempts at acting during my college days. One of those new buildings is a coffee shop setting between the Seminary building and the Mack Library. There we engaged with some of our young friend’s peers. They made Megan feel right at home and asked if she was making an official campus visit (that is, checking out the possibility of becoming a student). Obviously, this made a rising 9th graded feel accepted.
Our grandchildren range from six to 21. All eight have professed faith in Christ. Megan is right in the middle. I hope we live longer enough for each one to gain a special connection with us that God will use to motivate and encourage them to walk in a manner well pleasing to Him.