Inheritance: a Message for Grandparents Day

Inheritance: a Message for Grandparents Day September 8, 2023




When I think of the word inheritance, it stirs up mixed images. I suppose most of the time people think of money, antiques, land or jewelry as an inheritance, and in some ways I do, too, but there are so many other blessings in my life that I also consider an inheritance.

Inheritance from Mom

I inherited a love of books from my mother. Many of my most vivid memories of her from my childhood involve books. She was always reading, so she set the example, and she made sure there were books in the house that were appropriate and engaging for my brother and me.

Mom gave me the belief that one should be in church on Sunday mornings and that one should trust God and pray. I don’t remember ever hearing her pray out loud, but I knew she prayed. I knew she prayed for me.

From my mother, I also inherited the virtue of being strong in unpleasant situations and rolling with the punches. She raised my brother and me as a single parent and helped to provide for her own widowed mother, so she was well acquainted with sacrifice. The word can’t was not a part of her vocabulary, and she didn’t expect to hear it from us. I remember her telling my daughter once, “Always remember that you are a strong woman and you come from a line of strong women.”

She didn’t ever talk about these concepts much; she modeled them always.

Inheritance from Grandma

From her mother, my grandmother, I inherited a love of cooking and baking. The typical Italian Grandma, she was often to be found in her spotless kitchen making wonderful things to eat—bread and pasta from scratch, cookies, cinnamon-sugar “twisties,” gnocchi with homemade tomato  gravy . . . I get hungry just thinking about it. I didn’t get to help often, but when I did, especially as the Christmas holidays approached, she ingrained in me the right way to do things in the kitchen—use the best ingredients you can afford and don’t skimp.

The more she baked, the more she gave away. Grandma didn’t have much, truly not much in the eyes of the world, but she knew how to give. She taught me giving.

Inheritance from Grampy

From my Grammy and Grampy, I inherited creativity.

My Grampy was a lapidary. He was often at his workbench in the basement of his house making beautiful things—pendants, earrings, rings, and tie pins, made of jade, onyx, agate, and various other semi-precious stones. He taught me how to do it when I was pretty young, and I loved spending time with him in his workshop.

As a side lesson, he taught me the value of “quietness.” We never talked much in those hours I spent with him (he whistled more than talked), but I could feel the closeness we shared.

Inheritance from Grammy 

On the other hand, my Grammy talked all the time. She was also very artsy and taught me how to color eggs with beeswax and dye, how to etch flowers and birds on silver platters, how to make flowers out of fake fur, how to manipulate beads and pom-poms and wire and glue. She even helped me to turn some of that into a profitable enterprise to make my own money for Christmas when I was too young to have a “real job.”

In my twenties, I loved going to the ceramic shop with her when I could. One of my prized possessions is the Nativity set she made in the ceramic shop. My Grampy made the wooden stable with a light and real hay.  I inherited it when Grammy passed away and Grampy sold their house.

Grammy and Grampy always taught me things that I never realized I was learning. They showed me bird nests with baby birds, how tulips can be planted and bloom in various colors and come back the next year in one composite color (and the part the bees play in that magic), how to change the color of Queen Anne’s Lace, what happens to a grasshopper when it gets too close to a praying mantis, how to “skin the cat” on the playground monkey bars, how to invent a tool if you don’t have one that will work, how to give and not let people know you’re doing it, and how to be a friend. They also taught me that life is fun, and that you can joke and laugh when you’re a Christian, and God’s good with that.

Inheritance from Dad

My dad (who came into my life when I was twenty), taught me stability and support. I was not often at home after he and my mother married, but I felt so much better about living far away because I knew that no matter what happened, he was going to take care of things. He was there for his mother, he was there for my grandmother, he has always been there for my mother, and no matter how many times this prodigal daughter returned home, he never turned me away. 

More Than Silver or Gold

None of those people were extremely wealthy, but they left me a rich inheritance. Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none, but what I have, I give you” (Acts 3:6). My family gave me, and continues to give me, so much that is far beyond the value of “silver and gold.”

A Futile Inheritance

There is a “futile inheritance,” the one based on money, antiques, land, jewelry, and the like, that can be lost, stolen, or pilfered away. There can also be an inheritance of worry, fear, selfishness, anger, discontent, and the intangibles that can be passed on to our children, even if we are unaware that we are doing it. We must be careful what we model. We never know who is watching.

Inherited Blessings

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19-21). I am blessed every day by my eternal inheritance through Jesus Christ my Lord. I am grateful every day for the family in which God placed me, and for the indestructible inheritance I was given.

Lord, help me to live a life that will become a valuable inheritance for my grandchildren. Amen.

Browse Our Archives