Poppa

“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Poppa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance!”

- Paul, to the church in Rome


We had our first set of three children when we were really young.  As our children began to get married at a relatively young age, we began to get excited about the prospect of being young grandparents.

However, some of the sages in my life have done a great job of teaching me that the posture for approaching my adult children and their spouses should be…

  • complete support and availability
  • little or no pressure or expectations
  • letting them set the perimeter and rules of engagement

Our relational target with them is the next few decades, not the next few days.

Like the rain in my part of the country, it seemed like grandchildren would never come, but then they came in abundance.  Within a few weeks of one another, we found out that both of our adult married children are expecting.  We will be grandparents for the first time in January and then again in February.

Again, as a result of the mentoring I received, we have not been actively engaged in the naming of our grandchildren.  We did, however, get an unexpected gift.  We were asked to wade into the conversation of what they would call us.

“What can be more a man’s own than his new name…?”  
— C.S. Lewis
  • Your parents name you.
  • Loved ones and friends give you special names out of the unique relationship you share with them.
  • We believe that God knows you by powerfully identifying names.

Names are important, and getting a new one is a pretty big deal.

I didn’t like any of the ones that we found on the websites that collect such things.  We have a fragmented family history without much sense of family and very little in terms of legacy when it comes to the naming of elders.

But Monday morning, when I was preparing for the week, I read the lines above from Paul’s letters to the Romans.  I was overwhelmed and felt like the Father was providing me with an answer.

My hope for my relationship with my grandkids is that:

  • They would know more about their unique identity as a result.
  • They would feel known.
  • They would know my heart for them.
  • They would know their true Father better.
  • They would see our relationship as an unbelievable inheritance.
  • They would approach every interaction with the “breathless expectation" that Oswald Chambers talks about.  

They will hopefully be asking the question…

What’s next Poppa?!

Then I started to translate that same hope for my children, team members, and the many leaders we work with.  At the heart of being a “generative governor” (literally, a life-giving leader) is having that kind of relationship.  The desired result of every person we lead and for every child under our protection and leadership is that…

  • They would know more about their unique identity.
  • They would feel known.
  • They would know our heart for them.
  • They would know their God better.
  • They would see our relationship as an unbelievable inheritance.

At the heart of leading children or team members well, is the heart of a father…is the heart of the Father.

I'm probably a couple of years from getting to hear it from their precious mouths, but when my grandchildren begin to know me by name, I get to be their “Poppa”.

Consider

  • By what name, other than your own, do others know you?
  • By what names does your true Father know you?
  • Do you feel like those you love and lead see your relationship with them as a rich inheritance?
  • What needs to change in how you love and lead so that it will be viewed that way?