Dear Amy, Randy, and Danny,
I just want to say amen to what Mommy has been saying about not neglecting to regularly communicate with Grandma. I count as one of my greatest blessings in life not only that my parents lived a long time but also that all four of my grandparents lived to old age. I had a close relationship with my parents and was very close to BoBo and Daddy Jim and fairly close to Granddaddy and Grandmother Hooser. I’m also thankful that we had a large extended family. I had close relationships with quite a few uncles, aunts, and cousins on both sides.
However, as time goes along I regret more and more not having spent more time and not having communicated more with my extended family, especially my grandparents. I could easily have spent more time with BoBo and Daddy Jim all the time I was going to Southern Methodist University (SMU). They lived only about one mile from the SMU campus, at 3333 Greenbriar Dr., and I always did enjoy visiting them. It also gave me a nice, warm, secure feeling knowing they were so close. When my parents came to visit, we could all meet at BoBo and Daddy Jim’s house.
In spite of this close proximity, I probably only averaged going to see them once every other month. Sure, I was busy with my studies, but I was also very busy with my social life from which I could have easily sacrificed a little more time. Half the time I was co-oping at Lone Star, but I went to Dallas a lot on weekends for dates and social activities. Rarely on those weekends would I go by to see my grandparents.
Now I regret not visiting them more for two reasons. As time goes along, I see more and more how important it is to know your roots and your family history. It gives one a sense of identity and connectedness. It helps me to know who I am and why I am the way I am. So often I wish I could ask my grandparents and other relatives questions about their lives. The other reason is that I see more clearly now how lonely elderly people are and how bored they get. I dearly wish I had not been so selfish and self-centered and had made more of an effort to brighten the lives of my grandparents.
What I have said certainly applies to parents as well as grandparents. There were also many times when I went too long before calling, writing, or going to see my parents. I certainly regret that. We grow up expecting parents to be deeply concerned for the welfare of their children. Sometimes the maturity to be deeply concerned about one’s parents comes rather late in life.
Each of the 10 Commandments is a brief summary of a whole set of God’s laws and principles. The fifth teaches us more than just honoring parents. By extension, it teaches us to honor our extended family, all authority figures in our lives, and all people (1 Peter 2:17; 1 Tim. 5:3, 17; 6:1; Rom. 12:10).
Copyright 1999 by United Church of God, an International Association All rights reserved.