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My wife was off shopping. Normally, I would wait for her in the book section. This particular day, however, found me in the card section. There were aisles and aisles of cards, cards for every occasion. One could buy cards for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, retirement, for a new home and for old friends.

There were cards that expressed a myriad of emotions: "Thinking of You"; "Sorry You're Ill"; Our Deepest Sympathy"; "Friends Forever." Then I discovered an entire section of cards to be sent in observance of Grandparent's Day.

Why, I wondered, should there be a nation-wide celebration of Grandparent's Day? Why an entire section of cards asking us to remember our Grandparents? Are grandparents now on the endangered species list? Are grandparents so forgotten by today's younger generation that we need a special day to remember them?

Lydia Child penned these famous words, "Over the river and through the woods, to grandfather's house we'll go..." In years gone by, our grandparents lived within walking distance or at least within driving distance of where we lived. Now, we "visit" our grandparents by phone, by email or during our family vacations. Out of sight -- out of mind; perhaps we forget about these very important people in our lives. That's why we need a special day and special cards to remind us of our grandparents.

"The people whom the sons and daughters find it hardest to understand are the fathers and mothers, but young people get on very well with grandfathers and grandmothers." So wrote Simon Strunsky.

Grandparents are indeed very special people and play a very special role in our lives.

Grandparents are a source and resource of wisdom, knowledge and understanding acquired through years of living. They are a living library of our past, a key to our family's history and tradition. Listen well to what they have to share! Learn from them.

Grandparents are the keepers of family traditions. Grandpa and Grandma hold in their "memory banks" the memories of past birthdays and anniversaries, stories of mom and dad and uncles and aunts and cousins, memories of who did what and when and where, stories about family happenings, and memories of growing up in an age long past. Listen well to their stories! For just as they have passed on the family traditions to us; so we one day will be called upon to pass those traditions and memories on to children yet to be. Remember the keepers of our traditions.

Grandparents tend to be more objective when dealing with family relationships. Grandma and Grandpa view family happenings through the lens of past experiences. Grandparents, therefore, tend to be more compassionate and understanding of both their children and their grandchildren. Remember them!

Stephen Vincent Benet wrote, "The trees in the streets are old trees used to living with people, family-trees that remember your grandfather's name."

Cut down any tree and one will find the rings of that tree's lifetime; one can read a tree just as one might read a history book. As we drive down the street to the old family home place or down a country road to the family homestead -- listen to the trees. These old trees recall those olden days when our grandparents were young, recall their laughter and their tears, recall their growing pains, recall their triumphs. If trees could remember our grandparents when they were young, how much more should we remember our grandparents now that they are old!

Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 09/06/2018

Print Headline: Grandparents Are Special People

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