Our grand grandparents

The little boy, with his red hair and bright brown eyes, looked up at his grandfather, and, wrapping his tiny arms around the middle aged man's neck, quietly and almost reverently, said, "Grandpa, I love you."

A grandchild expressing such tender feelings for a grandparent is not an uncommon thing. Grandchildren seem to have a special bond of love with their grandparents. And for the grandparent, that special relationship is a source of joy and happiness, one of life's pleasures that only comes with growing older. Every age has its own joys that can be known only by experience, and having loving and supportive grandchildren is one of those great joys that comes with age.Many are the stories that have been written and the movies that have been made about the bond that exists between grandparents and grandchildren, especially young children.

Indeed, blessed are those whose grandparents are still living and who are close to them. Much can be learned from this special relationship that brings with it something of tremendous value to both the grandchild and the grandparent.

But there are those who have little or nothing to do with their grandparents. How sad this is! When this happens both the grandchild and the grandparents are losers.

In life, we reap what we sow.

If we sow the seeds of neglect of our grandparents, we will never reap the blessings that come from what they can offer us. Blessings like having our faith quickened and our testimonies enlarged through their spiritual experiences; blessings like increased appreciation for our day and age with its high technology and relative ease by hearing about what they had to go through in their day with its hardships and difficulties; but more importantly, blessings of being close to those whose blood flows in our veins.

Grandparents generally ask for very little, usually just a listening ear; in return, they give much. They have many experiences to share, much love to give, much joy to spread.

Some of our grandparents and great-grandparents paid a tremendous price so we can enjoy what we have today. This may be particularly true of our grandparents who have long since passed through the veil that separates mortality from immortality. They may have paid dearly so we could enjoy the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Were it possible, wouldn't it be spell-binding to listen to the experiences of a grandmother, who as a 10-year-old girl survived the tragedies of the Martin handcart company? We undoubtedly would be moved to tears as she describes the death of her father in that bitter cold of Martin's Cove near the Sweetwater River in blizzard-engulfed Wyoming. And perhaps we might even make some quiet resolves that we would be better members of the Church and live more faithfully because of her undeviating dedication to the gospel cause.

Wouldn't it be captivating to listen to the experiences of a grandfather who had the faith to leave behind him everything he owned and with his family followed his prophet-leader into the desolation of the West and knowing that all would be well?

Many have never known their grandparents or great-grandparents, but surely, hearing such experiences would cause "the hearts of the children to turn their fathers."

But it is also captivating to hear the experiences of our grandparents in our own day - perhaps a grandfather who served tirelessly to hold together a small branch of the Saints in war-ravaged Europe during World War II, or a grandmother who faithfully served a mission with her husband among the peoples of the South Pacific.

Surely, we are influenced by our grandparents whether they are still living or whether they lived in a day long past. Grandparents should always hold a place of endearment in our lives. What a great thrill it is to walk the paths trod by them even if the journey is only in our minds.

Grandparents can enrich our lives. From them, we can gain knowledge and learn from their hard work ethic and sacrifice. Observing them, we can learn such Christlike attributes as patience, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, charity and temperance - all attributes that we must obtain if we are to return to our Father in Heaven in His celestial abode.

No grandparent should be neglected or forgotten about. They deserve our honor, our respect, our help and our association. They should be included in our thoughts and prayers, and, where possible, they should be included in our family outings and get-togethers.

The seeds of love should ever be sown for our grand grandparents.

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