As noted last month, faith is comprised of three distinguishable elements: the experience of God, the content of belief, and living morally. To pass on our faith, we must engage our grandchildren in all three elements. This article looks at the third of those topics: living morally.
Every time we visited my grandmother Eva, she would take the grandchildren to the local store and let us choose one thing of our liking. My youngest brother (6 years old at the time) always chose the big can of red Pringles. They were the “expensive chips” my parents seldom bought. He loved them! On one occasion, we were walking home when we saw two little boys asking for money on the street. My grandma made a clear but subtle move to encourage my brother to share his chips with the boys. I was walking behind them and I remember thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe he is sharing those chips!” In that moment my grandma taught my brother — and me — a moral lesson!
I am always inspired by people who are generous and unselfish. They often show us how to live by their example rather than by their speech. Grandparents can model the right way of living to their grandchildren from the moment those children start walking to — forever.
One of the challenges we experience today is that some of our core virtues seem to be getting lost. We are definitely living in a more “me-oriented” world. The unselfish sacrifice of one’s time, money, possessions – the love of neighbor – is slipping away. The Greeks knew and taught the classical virtues: prudence, temperance, justice, and courage, and we know the value of the theological virtues: faith, hope, and love. These, along with humility, charity, chastity, kindness, moderation, patience, and diligence, must be purposefully instilled in children. They are not inhaled by just simply living on the planet.
Interestingly, there is no ultimate list of virtues. Perhaps that is because just following a list doesn’t guarantee much. God has given us a perfect model to imitate instead of living by a list. Let’s do that!
- How can you be more like Christ himself?
- Make a list of people that have marked your life by the way they live. What would you like to imitate?
- What would you like your grandchildren to imitate from you?
- Choose one virtue you already have, and think of practical ways in which you can pass it on to your grandchildren.
Pili Galván-Abouchaar is the director of Grandly and lives in Lansing, Michigan.
Copyright © 2019 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.