Les Sillars – The unqualified love of grandparents

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, September 9th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. This Sunday, September 13, is Grandparents Day. WORLD commentator Les Sillars happens to be, despite his youthful character and appearance—who writes these things??—a grandfather.

Hey, man, I am too and I look the part.

LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: Wednesday evenings are Grandpa Story Time at our house. We send out the Zoom invitation by email.

KYRA: Gampa, read ‘nother store peas?

This is Kyra.

KYRA: Hi Gampa!

She’s 2. Also in on the calls with me and Grandma are Kai and Zaria, who are 5 and 3. They like to show us things.

KAI: A whale shark and a hammer shark…

That’s Kai with his shark puzzle. And here’s Zaria. Sometimes she and Kai have discussions.

ZARIA: Kai put it back! KAI: There’s a crown and…

On this night I had a special treat for the kids.

LES: See those little symbols? Yeah, so whenever those show up in the text, Grandma is gonna make the sound effect. OK? 

JENNIFER: Grandma’s gonna try…

It worked great.

LES: Hello, little girl, he said with a laugh. 

JENNIFER: Hahaha! 

LES: As his empty stomach gurgled. 


LES: Little Red Riding Hood stopped in surprise. 


The batteries in this book died some years ago. But I think Grandma is even better than the book.

LES: Who might you be, and where are you going, asked the wolf with a laugh.

Jennifer: Ar, ar, ar, ar! …

It’s a great, great blessing to have grandchildren. But it’s also a somewhat daunting responsibility. Make the commands of the Lord known to your children, and to your children’s children, says Moses to the Israelites. Teach your children the ways of Life. And then your grandchildren will see Christ both in their parents and in you.

But it’s also possible to over-spiritualize this task. Sometimes Christian grandparents won’t read their grandkids anything but Bible stories. Of course, read the Bible stories. But our grandchildren also need to see how the joy of the Lord spills over into a deep and palpable affection for our families.

An otherwise obscure passage in Whittaker Chambers’ famous autobiography, Witness, has stuck with me. Chambers was an American who spied for the Soviets in the 1930s but then abandoned Communism to become a Quaker and a staunch conservative. He had a troubled family life growing up. But his grandfather, a difficult and sometimes nasty person, was—quote—“The only member of the family who blanketed us in a completely natural, warm, animal affection.” End quote. 

Chambers and his brother would romp all over him. Then—quote—“he would rumple our hair and say in a tone of lingering love: ‘Grandpa surely does love his little jack rabbits.’ It was unqualified: Grandpa simply did love his little jack rabbits.” End quote. 

Sometimes it takes courage to love well. But hey, that’s what grandparents are for.

LES: And as she took off her cloak and hugged Grandma, Little Red Riding Hood said, Grandma, what a brave heart you have, and Grandma said, the better to love you with, my dear. 

JENNIFER: Yeah! That’s a good story…

I’m Les Sillars.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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