426) Your Children’s Children

By Frederick Buechner in Beyond Words:  Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith, (HarperOne, 2004).

     To have grandchildren is not only to be given something, but to be given something back.  You are given back something of your children’s childhood all those years ago.  You are given back something of what it was like to be a young parent.  You are given back something of your own childhood even, as on creaking knees you get down on the floor to play tiddlywinks, or sing about Old MacDonald and his farm, or watch Saturday morning cartoons till you’re cross-eyed.  It is not only your own genes that are part of your grandchildren, but the genes of all sorts of people they never knew, but who, through them, will play some part in times and places they never dreamed of.  And of course along with your genes, they will also carry their memories of you into those times and places too– the afternoon you lay in the hammock with them watching the breezes blow, the face you made when one of them stuck out a tongue dyed Popsicle blue at you, the time you got a sliver out for one of them with the tweezers of your Swiss army knife.  On some distant day they will hold grandchildren of their own with the same hands you once held them by.  In the meantime, they are the freshest and fairest you have.  After you’re gone, it is mainly because of them that the earth will not be as if you never walked on it.


Psalm 128:6  —  May you live to see your children’s children.  Peace be on Israel.

Proverbs 17:6  —  Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

Psalm 78:4-7  —  …We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lordhis power, and the wonders he has done.  He… established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Psalm 103:17-18  —  From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.


Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.  Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.  Amen.  

–Psalm 71:17-18