Having grandchildren is a at times different experience for a woman than it is for a man. When they find out their daughter or daughter-in-law is pregnant, a woman often thinks, if not says: “I’m not old enough to be a grandmother!” Some men may think the same of their impending grand-fatherhood, but more likely than not they’ll first think, “Heh, heh, heh, now let’s see how you deal with being a Dad, buddy!” Beyond this devious pleasure in knowing that you can spoil your grandkids while changing no diapers and never having to get up in the night with a crying baby, new grandfathers also have the kinds of feelings my Dad told me about.
Dad said that this was the natural way of things… and that his job being my dad was really mostly done now. He was a grandpa now as much or more than a father. He understood that being Dad on purpose means raising your kids to be good dads or moms themselves. He couldn’t in 25 minutes give me 25 years of advice to prepare me for fathering the little baby my wife was carrying. He had to depend on the 25 years he spent raising me… with the dubious thought that I would likely do the same things for his grandkids that he had done for me. That concept is one that encouraged my dad—because he knew he had prepared me all he could, and modeled what it meant to be dad. It is a concept that should encourage all of us. It should drive us to live every day in a way that we would have our children live some day—because they more often than not will.
The Fruit of an Apple Tree
Let me share with you something I explored in my book, The Fruitful Life: Do you know what the fruit of an apple tree is? If you’re like most people, you might respond, nearly annoyed, that it is an apple, of course. But is that the ultimate fruit of an apple tree? What happens after that first fruit—an apple—falls to the ground? Well, if the conditions are right a new apple tree grows in that spot. So then you might say that the fruit of an apple tree is yet another apple tree, right? You might compare that to a father (like the tree) who has a child (like the apple)—and that child grows into a fully mature adult (another tree). However, that’s not the end of the story, is it? Does an apple tree only have one apple on it? Does that new tree that is planted stop the chain? No. Life continues on in an exponential growth process. Over time and in the right conditions, the final fruit of even just one apple tree can be an orchard! So that is our answer. The ultimate fruit of an apple tree is an orchard.
Your child is that first fruit in your life, but in the end your legacy will be an orchard of influence. Who knows how many lives will flow from yours even if you have just one child. The ancient Abraham, who had only one child with his wife Sarah, ended up with such a multitude of children that God described them as the “sand on the seashore” or the “stars in the sky” when promising them to him. Today his Jewish and Arab descendants fill the lands of the Middle East and are spread throughout the world. While you may not be like “father Abraham,” if you have at least one child you have just as much potential as he had to leave a legacy to your orchard. When a dad becomes a grandpa, things are just getting started.
Questions to Ask Yourself or a Group of Other Dads:
- Do you have any stories about how your grandparents or distant relatives influenced you in good ways?
- Is it hard for you to think of yourself as a grandfather?
- How could you become a grandfather gracefully?
- How will your kids make good parents themselves?
- What part of being a grandparent is way better than being a parent?