I lost my great-grandfather in 1976 when I was seven years of age. He died at the age of 98. He looked very old to me. He was a man well respected in our community. After the passing of my great-grandfather, my great-grandmother lived on for another ten years. She passed away in 1986. By this time, I was in High School and in love with photography. I could afford a camera, so I took several pictures of my great-grandmother. It was only after her death that family members began to value her pictures. She was a sweet petite woman and I have memories of her old age even as I was young. I remember vaguely my great-grandparents, but they were an end of a chapter in our family. I watched my grandparents carefully and they did their best to keep up with the family traditions.
As my grandfather took over the leadership of the family, I clearly remember my grandmother's contributions. I watched as both decided issues affecting the family. With a larger extended family, there was need to keep things real. Often my grandmother would disagree with my grandfather on issues affecting the family's welfare. Yet, both would present a united front to show things were alright. Most African families are patriarchal, but my grandmother did not allow my grandfather to have an easy pass to decisions. She made her voice heard. She was a modest woman by all accounts who was always proud of her achievements, disciplined by the culture in which she lived. I remember one lesson I learnt from her when I started school. One day, we had a grandmother-grandson chat and she told me, "Remember to ask many questions when you don't understand what you are to do." She never had a formal education, but I am grateful for her advice, which inspired me greatly.
What is a family without role-playing? Your answers are as good as mine. Every family must give honor to whom honor is due. The position of parents cannot be taken by another person because it is a divine role conferred by God. Our initial memories as human beings are first formed in the family. All the members of a family, especially the adult members, influence the personal behaviors of their children. They unknowingly teach the younger one's aspects that imprint on their character.
The gift of family is divinely instituted by God. Jesus came through the family of Joseph and Mary; to make us value ours. The presence of family members at every event in our lives is to make us realize that no man is an island. That's why when a baby falls, the parents assist by lifting the baby. In Genesis, God told Abraham, "Fear not Abram! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great." Abram and Sarah bore Isaac in their old age because God promised them and did not fail them. They became happy forever. Through their bloodline, many families will populate the earth and make it rich with beautiful faces.
Simeon was happy with the presentation of Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem. He held Jesus in his arms and blessed him. He said, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted – and you yourself a sword will pierce – so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." In the same temple, there was a woman advanced in age with the name Anna, who also blessed Jesus and his parents. She was a widow, eighty-four years old and stationed in the temple. She looked forward to the time when this child would play a role in the redemption of Jerusalem.
Look at the members of your family, who among them is not beautiful or handsome? I am very handsome, ask my mother, if you doubt me. Every person is created wonderfully and uniquely. Take care of everyone and watch as they grow to help the family be what God wants them to be in the world. The saying, "The child is the father of a man" is golden. Be your brother's and sister's keepers in the years ahead and enjoy a wonderful life. Keep praying!BACK TO LIST