“. . . let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
I still have fond memories of my grandfathers, although short lived because both died when I was quite young, one when I was only four-years-old and the other at age nine. Because of that – also due to being the youngest grandchild on both sides of the family – for many years I felt deprived about not having the opportunity to spend more time with them and know them better as my older brother and cousins had. Those feelings began to diminish, however, with my marriage to Tee which included the bonus benefit of her grandfather with whom I quickly bonded, launching an amazing grandfather-grandson relationship that lasted twenty-five years.
Over time I’ve come to realize that I had not been deprived at all, in fact have been blessed beyond measure to have had those three incredibly fine men as role models, regardless how long. As someone once said, others will follow your footsteps more easily than they will follow your advice. And how true, for I remember very few of their spoken words, including those of my in-law grandfather with whom I spent the most time. Rather, what is forever etched in my memory is how they lived their lives.
Today, as a grandfather myself I find it tempting to want to share my “wisdom” with my five grandchildren. Perhaps there will be a time for that, but only if they ask. Chances are, however, based on my own experience they’ll never remember anything I say anyway. What is most likely making an impression on their observant little minds is how I conduct myself in life – how I treat their grandmother, their parents, and other people in general including themselves, what my values are and how I live up to them, for what purposes I devote time and energy. I know this because these are the impressions made on me by my three grandfathers that will forever be etched in my memory, the footsteps left for me to follow.
For others will follow your footsteps more easily than your advice, the saying goes. In other words, “. . . let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”