Those of us that were or are fortunate enough to know our grandparents generally have very fond memories of them.  I remember spending time with my grandparents growing up.  They had a large backyard and my grandmother kept a sizeable vegetable garden.  She taught me how to grow a number of vegetables, how to harvest them, how to can them in jars, and how to cook them with her wonderful recipes.

My grandfather had a large workshop behind his house and he taught me how to use a drill press, grinder, welder and wood lathe.  He helped my dad teach me how to track and hunt different game animals, how to clean, butcher and cook them. He also taught me how to fish for different types of fish in different types of waters.  In many ways, my grandparents had a profound influence on my childhood and taught me things that I continued to use most of my life.

Grandparents often help care for and tend to their grandchildren.  They help train and teach the second, third and fourth generations skills and trades that they will use as adults.

Some studies have indicated that having grandparents involved in the lives of their grandkids has a significant impact on the children’s chances of survival in their younger years.  But these bonds between grandparents and grandchildren seems to be mystifying to secular researchers.

One such researcher is David Coall of Edith Cowan University stated:

Evolutionary perspectives on the post-reproductive years have highlighted grandparenthood as an unusual feature of the human lifespan…

Coall and co-author Ralph Hertwig of the University of Basel, are curious to find out what motivates grandparents to pour so much of themselves into their grandchildren.  They plan to study the integration of evolutionary, sociological and economics aspects behind the special relationships to try to determine how and why it exists and how to use it to help others.

The very concept of grandparents investing so much of their time, energy and resources in their grandchildren goes against the typical evolutionary models of parenting.  It is okay for the parents to devout so much to their offspring, but why do so to successive generations?  It just doesn’t fit in their grand scheme of things.

Biblically, grandparents have always been involved in the care and training of their grandchildren.  Families lived in groups.  The older members (grandparents) often were heavily involved in the teaching of their grandkids.  As older men became less physically able to work, they assumed more of the parental role of teaching and educating their grandsons in Scripture and the tools of their profession, while the fathers worked.  Likewise, grandmothers not only taught their daughters how to manage and run a household but they also helped to train their granddaughters.  This has been part of Jewish family tradition as far back as anyone can remember.

Think about the generations that followed Adam and what they learned directly from him.  In Adam’s lifetime, he would have been able teach and tell of his experiences in the Garden of Eden and his relationship with God to the next 8 generations.  Lamech, 8 generations after Adam was 56 years old when Adam.  Lamech was Noah’s father.  Grands, great grands, great great grands and so would all have had a strong influence on successive generations.  See the following chart to see the overlap of generations from Adam to Noah.

Then we have Abraham whom God blessed in his old age and promised that He would make Abraham’s seed into a great nation.  That promise was also passed down through his generations as we read in Genesis 50:24:

And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

The descendants of Abraham had a vested interested in keeping the families together and teaching them the promises of God.  Grandparents had a reason to invest so much into the nurture, care and training of their grand and great grandchildren.  That tradition was passed down to the many generations that followed.

In Psalm 78:2-6 we read about the command to fathers to the children even to those as yet unborn.  The fathers referred to in this verse aren’t restricted to a single generation, but all fathers which included grand and great grandfathers.

I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,

In Proverbs 17:6 we read:

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
and the glory of children is their fathers.

Why are grandchildren a crown to the aged?  Because the aged has helped in the rearing and training of each generation and they stand proud of their grandkids.

Lastly, we can see what an impact a grandparent can have on a grandchild when we read 2 Timothy 1:5 that tells us of Timothy’s grandmother and the legacy she passed down to him:

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

The role of grandparent’s and their involvement with their grandchildren would not be such a mystery to the evolutionary researchers if they turned to God’s Word and read the true history of the human race and how families, for the most part, were strong and bonded together over many generations.

If this was part of God’s plan, then wouldn’t you expect the involvement of grandparents to have a positive effect on the survival rates and overall health and maturity of the grandkids?  And if God cared enough to make promises to multiple generations, then shouldn’t we follow up with those generations as well?  It all makes sense when you start with a biblical foundation.


The Ties That Bind,, May 15, 2011.

Additional Resources

A Father’s Gift: Lessons from Proverbs

by Kenneth Wingate

Many young parents today are beside themselves with anxieties about their children, and, sadly, confusion too about how to nurture them. The ongoing addiction of our times to the heresy of modernity and its proud rejectionand ignoranceof the tested and tried wisdom of the past, inevitably leads to dysfunction in home and family life. Sadly, the older, wiser counsel of Gods Word, and especially of the book of Proverbs, is unknown or neglected. Yet Proverbs was composed specifically as a manual for home and family instruction, and to prepare us for life in the world. It is a divinely given handbook to help parents.

Proverbsand Ken Wingate following themshows us the way to possess the jewel of all jewels in a well-adorned life: wisdom that is rooted in the knowledge of, and reverential love for, God. Here is true wisdom that will prove to be worth its weight in gold in every age and culture. Ken Wingate now brings it into our needy culture, and I for one am grateful to him for sharing his gift as a father with other fathersand mothers, and sons and daughters too.

Here then is a book for parents to read on their own; for teenagers to read on their own; for parents and teenagers, who are willing to take the family challenge, to read round the table after dinner or on other occasions. It points us to Gods way. It promises us Gods grace. What could be better for us than that?


Foreword by Sinclair B. Ferguson
Author’s Preface

1. Abundant Life: Introduction to Proverbs
2. Wealth
3. Friends and Neighbours
4. Words
5. Sexual Purity
6. Work
7. Self-Control
8. Guidance
9. Pride
10. Health
11. Kindness and Mercy
12. Justice and Equity
13. Authority and Leadership
14. Husband and Father
15. Wife and Mother
16. Wickedness and Evil
17. The Future
18. The Lord
19. The End of the Path
Appendix 1: Key Principles for Abundant Living
Appendix 2: Proverbs by Subject

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