We have returned from our annual Heritage Weekend at the cabin. It’s three days where twenty-six people, including fourteen children, do family bonding things. We launch water bottle rockets into the sky, have a cousin sleep-out in Grandma’s barn, pick pumpkins from Grandpa’s garden, and repeatedly kick the kids off their mobile devices.
September is a glorious time of year for Dutch oven dinners, campfires, hoops in the driveway, toddlers playing trains, and Jack vacuuming up the dead Box Elder bugs.
At our Sunday devotional, we talked about relatives and ancestors who have influenced us. Three of my brothers-in-law told us about men in their lives who made a profound positive impact on them. They said things like,
“My grandpa was the constant in my life. He was there when my unstable parents weren’t. He taught me how to live decently. He taught me how to be a man.”
“My grandpa found small ways to connect with me. He showed interest in things I was interested in. He spent time talking with me. His influence shaped me into the person I am.”
“My dad had his faults, but he loved his family and created traditions of camping and being together outdoors–things we still do. He couldn’t always show that he cared, but he did care and I’m grateful he was my dad.”
We planted a burr oak tree in remembrance of my great-grandpa Lawrence Criddle, a man with big hair and a generous heart, who my dad described as, “the finest man I ever knew.”
Raising up and nurturing a younger generation requires selflessness and character. It gives our lives meaning and purpose.
Like the burr oak, it is something beautiful.