What’s so important about being a grandfather? Everything!Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re not on the playing field anymore and that your championship days are over. As an elder of the family, you play a vital role in your grandchild’s future. You will leave a legacy for that child and your family, but what will it be? And how do you make sure it’s the best legacy possible?Carey Casey has a game plan. And you definitely need one, because building a winning legacy of love and godliness takes intentionality. Using a lifetime of heart-touching stories and research from the National Center for Fathering, this grandfather of nine and national expert on fathering takes you to the next level of influence in your family. Carey will “school you up” on building a legacy through loving, coaching, and modeling.And remember: No matter what your family heritage has been, and no matter what mistakes you may have made as a father, it’s never too late to redeem the past and build a new legacy. Applying this practical guide to your life will change your family for generations to come.
|Publisher:||Focus on the Family|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)|
Read an Excerpt
How to Build a Winning Legacy
By Carey Casey, Neil Wilson, Julie Buscho Holmquist
Tyndale House PublishersCopyright © 2017 National Center for Fathering
All rights reserved.
THE DAY I BECAME "PI-PA"
* * *
The year was 2007, but it still feels like yesterday. I'd become a grandfather for the first time, and I couldn't wait to announce it to the world! Here's how I described my thoughts and feelings during those days in one of my radio ministry's "daily thoughts."
Let me tell you, being CEO of the National Center for Fathering is nothing compared with my brand new title ... Granddaddy! That's right. My son Marcellus and his bride recently had a baby girl, and I'm thrilled and humbled all at the same time.
When we heard the news, one of my first thoughts was, I have just become my father! I'm "Granddaddy Casey," just like my father was, and just like his father was before him.
The first member of the next generation of Caseys has already brought to me a renewed sense of responsibility. It's a new and exciting challenge. But it's an undertaking I am ready and eager to meet. My parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents prepared the way, and now it's my job to continue that legacy for this little girl.
I also think about this birth in the larger context of our culture. Here's what I mean: This baby girl met all four of her grandparents in the first forty-eight hours of her life! That's becoming less and less common today. What a blessing for that little one to have two parents and four grandparents who love her and who are there to help her grow into a godly woman.
Here at the National Center for Fathering, we believe that every child needs an involved dad, and those benefits extend down through the generations. It's a marvelous thing to be part of. I have done my best to pass a healthy legacy to my children, and now I get to watch and support them as they pass it on to their children.
Right after I found out about my granddaughter's birth, I was driving and listening to music, and I put in a CD by Nicole C. Mullen. One of her songs spoke to my heart in a fresh new way — it brought me to tears. Her song called "I Wish" captured my number-one dream for my new granddaughter.
The song paraphrases the words of the Great Commandment from Mark 12:30, and I just can't stop singing it: "Of all the things I could ever want for you, I wish this more than life: Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, your mind, and strength."
Dad, that's the most important legacy you can ever hope to pass on to your children and their children.
Now that I've welcomed many grandchildren to the world, I read that account and chuckle. Mostly I was thinking about the changes that little baby girl brought into my life. When I said, "I've become my dad," I realized that with the birth of a new generation in my family I was one step closer to being history!
The weeks and months that followed that birth were filled with added lessons about the way one generation flows into the next. No one stops being a dad when he becomes a granddad. You simply add a completely new set of delights and duties. Both as a father and now as a grandfather, I've come to understand in a new way what Jesus meant when He said, "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required" (Luke 12:48, esv). The title of grandfather comes with responsibilities, and those of us who are ushered into that office had better figure out as soon as we can what the job requires of us.
My bride, Melanie, and I now have nine grandchildren, or as someone might call them, "a small riot about to happen."
Shunton and Christie (our eldest) have presented us with two grandkids, while our secondborn, Patrice, and her husband, John, have gifted us with three more. But our son Marcellus started the avalanche of little ones who have filled my bride's life and mine with a new level of joy, laughter, busyness, and exhaustion! He and Stephanie have added four members to our clan.
This means that we now have two nine-year-olds, three seven-year-olds, two five-year-olds, and two three-year-olds. For the moment, when everyone is present we have an adult for every grandchild in the family, counting our youngest child, Chance, as one of the grown-ups. But when it's just Melanie and me with the nine grandkids, it's easy to see how we might feel outnumbered! I'm so glad my bride is a teacher and not at all intimidated by a room full of kids.
After talking with other grandfathers, I've discovered that the title given to me by my granddaughter Salem — Pi-Pa (pronounced PEE-PAW) — is not unique. I thought my creative grandchild had invented a never-before-used term to describe who I was.
Kids can be creative, but in this case, the name probably has to do with the way little human beings learn how to speak and what sounds come easiest to them. One woman I know was called "Gonga" by her granddaughter. It's not a term that sounds special or endearing on its own, but the source made it precious to her. Whether it's Opa, Mmmpa, Grapa, Gonga, or Pi-Pa, one thing is true — our grandchildren can call us pretty much anything they want as long as they call us!
I know parents have the right to expect their kids to talk to them first, but I also know that having that little child recognize you as someone special and run into your arms is an unforgettable experience. Those trusting smiles, giggles, and hearty laughter bring sunshine into any gloomy day.
And let me tell you, when you have nine grandchildren at your house when you come home from work, and they stampede to hug and greet you, that's an experience beyond words. They already know that after the first round of hugs and kisses (including one for my bride), Pi-Pa will change out of his go-to-work clothes and put on his hang-out-with-the-grandkids-at-home clothes. They may watch Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on TV occasionally, but every time they're at our house they are learning about being part of Mr. Casey's neighborhood.
Grandma is the activities coordinator; Pi-Pa is the benevolent supervisor. He's the one in whose lap you can crawl for a break, or who can be convinced to be the foundation for a game of "Pile on Pi-Pa."
Sometimes the spotlight is on me. My bride will turn to me at the dinner table and say, "Let's have Pi-Pa say thanks over this meal." At those times, I'm happy to express my gratitude to God for the blessings on the table and around the table.
But mostly, I'm more like a living rock in the middle of the rushing river than someone keeping up with all that's going on. I'm watchful but content. One of my friends calls his times surrounded by his grandchildren "happy chaos," and I know what he means. But I'm also seeing that as my grandchildren grow older, the blur of activity is also broken up by little conversations, curious questions, and times of quiet in which one of the grandkids shares a moment on the recliner with the "rock." And that "rock" is happy for their company as he watches the next generation grow up.
Don't get the idea from what I just described that I'm not actively involved in what's happening in my house. The grandkids aren't about to let Pi-Pa sit still for long. I'm a doting granddad, fortunate to still have a significant amount of energy. And I must say, having the flow of grandchildren around has given me a new awareness of the gift of life.
Take what happened just a few weeks after our first grandchild was born. My son and his wife were visiting us with their baby girl. One morning Melanie, Chance, and I were hurrying to get ready for a busy day. Concerned about being late, I was getting on everyone's case: "Why aren't you ready? We have to leave! I can't be late!" Then, when I thought we were all ready to walk out the door, I asked, "Where's Melanie?"
"Um ... she's holding the baby," someone said.
"Holding the baby?" I responded excitedly. "You mean ... she's awake?"
Suddenly my priorities changed. Surely we could spare a few minutes. And in a flash, I was right there at Melanie's side, making baby talk to my granddaughter. She opened her eyes, looked at me, and gave me a big smile.
Maybe it was gas, but I'm going with another explanation: There's a special bond — a magical connection — between a grandfather and his grandchild. You can hardly wait for the moment when the smile becomes a smile of recognition. When your grandchild knows you, something amazing has taken place. Another generation is starting to discover who they are and where they came from.
From a grandfather's view, there is great fascination in connecting with your own descendant. It's motivating and energizing! Having grandchildren brings out a side of us we never knew existed. My grandchildren's pictures are all over my smart phone, and I brag on them every chance I get. I can already tell that my grandchildren are going to accomplish great things for this world and for God's Kingdom. Another generation means all kinds of possibilities!
If you're a grandfather, you know exactly what I mean. It's a special, rewarding time. And what's even better is that our job isn't just about making baby talk. We have a unique role to play.
Without stepping on our children's toes as they learn to be parents, we also have a new round of responsibilities. We impart values. We see the big picture. We offer an older and wiser perspective on the world. And we should intentionally exercise this strength as we try to be Championship Grandfathers. And as I experienced, we're more likely to put other things on hold so we can soak up all the joy of investing in our loved ones.
Start with a Tree
Your grandchildren or soon-to-come grandchildren may motivate you to be the best grandpa you can be, but they can't give you much guidance on how to do the job. In other words, grandkids don't come with instructions. The fact that you're reading these words means you're interested in a little direction, so let's get started.
First, I'd like to remind you that this isn't your first rodeo! Expect to take some of your cues from your failures and successes in fathering. But it's important to know that this additional position with your children's children doesn't let you off the fathering hook, and it's not simply a do-over with a new generation. If you don't pay attention and practice some soul-searching about the fathering job you've already done, you are most likely to repeat mistakes — something neither you nor I want to do.
Next, to begin this soul-searching, you need to consider the influence of family members who came before you. So instead of thinking about yourself as a grandfather, start thinking about your own grandfathers. What do you know about them? It's likely your grandfathers have already died. If this is not the case, you have a brief opportunity to mine gold. If your own father is alive, he can be a source of valuable information about your heritage. Conversations between generations of men in a family often don't occur naturally; they must be intentional.
One area of fruitful interaction is talking about previous generations. Asking your father (perhaps reeling from the reality that he is now a great-grandfather) about his memories of his dad and granddad may open up treasures of family stories you never knew. Even if his relationship with his father wasn't great, you can still learn about family dynamics. That knowledge can often help you understand things about yourself that may have been a mystery until now.
In the chapters to come, we'll talk about what we can learn from the past that will help us influence the next generations in a positive, intentional way. Understanding your heritage will influence the legacy you leave behind.
Finally, one way to start learning about that legacy is by creating a family tree. As a grandfather in your family tree, your life's branches have already sprouted leaves, better known as grandchildren.
A Champion Grandfather is aware of and appreciates his own heritage. The fact that you are alive means there's an unbroken chain of fathers reaching back from your life to the very beginning. Every link in that chain contributed in some way to who you are. Does that mystery intrigue you?
Even if you're only able to trace back four or five generations, you may discover some astounding facts about your heritage. The basics of creating a family tree include recording names, dates, relationships, and places. These four categories will add up to many facts, even in a small family.
You may be among the many guys who lose track of important dates, so creating this family tree might mean you'll have to make an effort. If you have trouble remembering your anniversary or your grandkids' birthdays, it's time to "man up" and either fill in an electronic calendar on your smart phone or buy a journal and name it "Dates I Don't Want to Forget."
Your bride will probably be stunned if you sit down beside her with your phone/tablet/journal and say, "Honey, I need to make a list for myself of important dates." You may discover she has a few generations of birthdays and anniversaries written down somewhere for you to copy.
Once you have names and dates of a couple of generations before you, start working on a short profile of each person: place of birth, where they are buried, what kind of work they did, significant events in their lives, and any quotes, sayings, or traits that are attributed to them in the family. If you remember specific experiences you had with these people, make a note of them. Better yet, start an audio collection entitled "Things I Remember about My Family" that you can pass on to your kids and grandkids.
Let me add at this point that you may be a fortunate man. As you have conversations with your bride and various extended family members about your tree, ask if anyone in the clan has been compiling genealogical facts about the family. Someone may have done the work for you! If you discover charts that trace the branches of your family and your bride's family, you have a head start. Be sure to thank any living family members who have already done this work.
But realize these collections of names, dates, and relationships are just the framework that needs to be filled in with as many stories as you can find. Along the way, you may be amazed at other discoveries you make.
I have a friend who was born in 1950, the first grandson on his father's side of the family. When he was a teenager, his oldest uncle pulled him aside during a brief visit and gave him a military saber that was used by an ancestor during the American Revolutionary War. The rusty sword was still encased in a leather scabbard that was falling apart.
The oldest son in each generation of the family had been the keeper of that family heirloom. Unfortunately, that uncle died shortly after he passed on the sword, and the young man never learned of any specific stories or history connected with that object, a mystery he is still trying to unravel.
One tantalizing tidbit of family lore is that the saber was wielded by an officer who arrived in America as a mercenary hired by the British to fight the rebellious colonists. The officer deserted to the enemy and earned his citizenship by fighting in the Continental Army. Apparently, he abandoned his original name and adopted a new American name, which the family still bears.
The teenager who received that saber is now a grandfather himself, still trying to verify that story but enjoying the idea of being related to a Revolutionary War hero.
Like many Americans ofAfrican descent, I know my family tree eventually branches back across the ocean to Africa. Visiting that continent as an adult with my son, Chance, was a reminder that the story of my family has come a long — and sometimes very difficult — way. I have come to realize that generations have subtle but profound effects on those coming after.
Because of the circumstances of my ancestors' arrival in this country, much of my family history before emancipation is unknown. I know more about my family's history during the time following official slavery and in the continuing decades of latent racism in our country. There are plenty of stories among my relatives of places we couldn't go, hotels we couldn't stay in overnight, and dehumanizing treatment received.
But what shines for me in the lives of my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents is a persistent practice of dignity, of rising above difficult circumstances, and of quietly striving for a better life for those coming later.
I'm a product of several generations of people who understood that making good use of an actual opportunity was much better than complaining about opportunities that were not there. It's gratifying for me to watch and listen to my grown children express their pride in what their grandparents and great-grandparents were able to achieve with limited choices. They are humbled to realize how much of their life stories were shaped by people in out-of-the-way places back in Virginia, people who worked hard and built a legacy for the family.
Part of that legacy is a phrase I can still hear my dad say over and over (I always say it with his intonation, a little deeper than my natural voice): "Son, you've got to remember the importance of perseverance."
Excerpted from Championship Grandfathering by Carey Casey, Neil Wilson, Julie Buscho Holmquist. Copyright © 2017 National Center for Fathering. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Tony Evans ix
A Call to Action xiii
1 The Day I Became "Pi-Pa" 1
2 What Is Championship Grandfathering? 17
3 Enter Their World 33
4 611: Show Them Your World 49
5 Changing Your Grandkids' Heritage 65
6 Building a Positive Legacy 77
7 A Legacy of Loving 89
8 A Legacy of Coaching 109
9 A Legacy of Modeling 131
10 Doorkeepers and Elders 149
11 Living a Blessing 167
12 You'll Go First 179