Nov 21, 2019 08:00am
How Many Generations Does it Take to Bless a Child?

With an autumn breeze grazing our skin, carrying the backyard-laughs into the neighbor’s yard, we played and played . . . and played. Somewhere in the middle of it, I couldn’t help but pause. And say, “Thank you” to God.

You know, there is nothing quite like it – kids playing. Just give them a little grass beneath their feet, some dirt between their toes, a ball, a bit of space, and zero time constraints. And you’ve got a life-giving experience. It’s what God thought up long ago – kids playing on his earth, ringing laughter carried on by his wind.

But he didn’t just think of this – he went further. God deeply understands the beauty, the necessity, of intergenerational interplay. Of little boys playing with Grandpas. And Grandmas. And the older folk of earth needing to stretch out their muscles and play with their littles. To remember that the world, however broken, still spins. That life is worth living. That laughs are worth more than 401Ks.

Of course, things are broken. Some generations never meet each other, in a silent, often-missed tragedy. “Who is Grandpa?” a child might ask. Or a strained relationship preventing a Grandma from ever meeting her grandchild. 

This, perhaps more than we give it credit for, is why the local church is God’s idea, too. It’s a place where the generations mix, worship, and give one to another. If nothing more than who they are. Just watching my boys give leaping high-fives to a number of 70-year-olds every Sunday brings a profound joy to my heart – because their hearts are forming.

God possesses a deep desire to bless us through other generations. It’s in His heart. It’s who He is. He longs to bless us. And this is what I’ve personally seen in my family – what I hope my boys one day understand.

Satan’s quiet sobs

My Grandpa didn’t grow up a believer. But when he met a young little lass named Lila Lavern in his teenage years back in the 1600s (just kidding, Gpa, you aren’t that old), he came to eventually know the Lord. And, right then, in that moment of conversion, Satan screamed in agony. An entire family line (in this case, the Talberts) changed course. One family, the Watkins, collided with another, the Talberts – and hell was depopulated. 

Grandma and Grandpa had two sons, raised Christian. These two sons eventually collided with two young ladies, hailing from two distinct, unbelieving families – and conversions occurred yet again. One of those couples is, of course, my parents. They raised my sister and me in the Lord, making church a priority. 

Still to this day, if I’m quiet enough, I can hear Satan’s quiet sobs…

Commend God’s works

And now May and I raise our boys in the Lord. Not because we’re just awesome parents. But because it’s what we’ve been shown. By the Bible, yes. But also by the generations before us.

There are three generations of Talbert males, each needing the other. Each generation living out Psalm 145:4: “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” 

Naturally, my boys learn the most from me, their father. But they learn that tender, patient, generous love from their Gramps (my Dad). And they learn how to finish the race, how every step along this path of life really, truly, actually matters from Grandpa.

What a thought that every single decision you and I make today, like right now, matters on a generational level. It will affect those before us, those who have lovingly shaped us. And it will affect those after us, those we hope to lovingly shape.

As we approach the holiday season in the next months, despite the countless blemishes, the empty chairs, the static in the air at times, remember to pause and say thanks to God. And remember that you, and those around you, are forming each other.

And that the kids especially are being formed. So, how many generations does it take to bless them? All of them.

Copyright © 2019 by Justin Talbert @ Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from