Forget Them Not

By Andrew Barnhart
2 Timothy 2:2
     Grandparents day is celebrated in various countries around the world.  Here in America, it falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day in September.  It often comes and goes without much fanfare.  (I’ve heard more this year about national coffee day, also in September).  It definitely isn’t the same as Mothers day or Fathers day.  
     It was first formally suggested in 1969, when a 9 year old boy named Russell Capper sent a letter to President Nixon advocating for a day dedicated to celebrating grandparents.  The boy received a letter back from the President's secretary, thanking him for his suggestion.  However, the letter stated, “proclamations for special observances are only when a congressional resolution authorizes him to do so.” 
     A year later, in 1970 a woman named Marian McQuade campaigned for a day to be set aside to honor grandparents as well.  It wasn’t until 8 years later that President Jimmy Carter proclaimed a national grandparents day (after Congress passed legislation) - and the first one was then celebrated in 1979.  Grandparents day even has an official flower, the forget-me-not. That’s actually very fitting for what I want to write about today.
     I was blessed to have known 3 out of my 4 grandparents.  They each demonstrated and taught me things, and I got to spend time with all of them.  I did not know my grandfather on the Barnhart side, as he died when my father was around 10 years old.  That left my Grandma Barnhart to raise 5 kids on her own.  I believe she had about a 6th grade education, and when she died, had about 50 cents to her name.  It was this lady, who had little education, who lived through things like the Great Depression and World War 2, who had a husband who died with kids still at home - who was the biggest spiritual influence in my life.  Not that my parents didn’t influence me - but I believe every child needs someone outside of a mom or dad who will pour into them.  The person who did that for me was my grandmother.  
     I spent MANY hours with her as a kid during the summer, as she lived next to us out in the country.  She had two HUGE gardens, where she grew anything and everything.  She always had some sort of flowers blooming.  In her yard, she had apple, cherry, pear, and plum trees, among other things.  She baked, canned, and froze her food, all to help save her money on groceries.  We worked outside together most of the day, until it was too hot in the middle of the afternoon.  During that time, we would then eat lunch and play games inside together.  
Deuteronomy 6:7 says - “You shall teach them diligently (meaning spiritual truths) to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.”  
     That’s what my grandmother did.  What a privilege it was to have someone in my life who lived out that verse.  Not only did she plant seeds in her garden year after year, she planted spiritual truths in the heart of her grandson day after day.   I still marvel at how she did that - as it’s easier said than done.  She took the Truth of God’s Word and talked about it in a way a kid could understand.  She talked about, and lived out, why it was important to work hard, to be content, thankful, giving, and to be honest in what I said and did.  She insisted that I always tell the truth, even if I feared doing it.  
     She’s been gone 18 years now, and there are times when I don’t know what to think or do, that I wonder to myself - what would she tell me?  If I stop to think about it, I can predict what she would say because what she was doing was pointing me towards the Scriptures and towards the God revealed in the Bible.  
     She left this Earth not knowing the DRASTIC impact she had on my life.  I suppose that’s true in many instances.  We may not understand the influence we do have until we receive our reward in Heaven.  I think she left a huge imprint upon me in that when teaching children, I realize I basically just mimic what she did with me.  That’s why I look forward to Junior camp each year - it’s an opportunity to play together, eat together, and learn about God together.
     I often have to remind myself that children can be like growing a garden.  It’s hard work.  I have to be patient.   I’m instructed to sow the seed, and to water the plant, but it’s God that makes it grow. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).  
     Another Grandparents day has come and gone, but I for one will not forget, and will be eternally grateful, for the time she invested into me.  Not only did she look after me physically, but more so spiritually.  For that, I will “forget-her-not.”

If you had/have a grandparent who has influenced you, feel free to leave a brief comment to let us know!
Andrew and his grandma, Hazel, in 1994


Maureen Thurman - October 6th, 2021 at 10:03am

Thanks Andrew. Good message. Lot of memories and future things to do☝🙏🙏

Linda P - October 6th, 2021 at 11:00am

I was not fortunate enough to have grandparents that I was close to as we lived too far away, but those of you who do, cherish them ( children cherish your grandparents, grandparents cherish your grandchildren). I loved talking to my grandchildren about the Lord and still do. ❤️ Thanks for sharing Andrew.