A Life Lesson of Compassion

Child holding a flower

You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.—DEUTERONOMY 6:7 (ESV)

When my grandfather moved in with us when our two sons were babies, I didn’t give much consideration to how our new family member would affect the trajectory of my children’s lives. The transition was relatively easy, though. Granddaddy Bill became a natural part of our daily routine, even helping keep me on a schedule, which benefited us all. I was still wearing our youngest in a carrier most of the time and chasing my two-year-old around. We had several great years together as a team.

But as my grandfather’s Parkinson’s and dementia progressed, things became much harder. I was often up all night with him, and caregiving came to occupy a huge part of my time.

My younger son only remembers the Granddaddy Bill who was sick and confused, and needed many hospital and rehab visits. He’s grown up scared of those places. But my older son, who remembers my grandfather well before his sharp decline, now goes out of his way to talk to all the elderly, infirm and disabled people who cross his path. He walks right up and starts a genuine conversation. I’m so proud that through our caregiving experience with Granddaddy Bill, he learned the great life lesson of compassion and respect so early.

Today's Prayer:

Dear God, thank you for the lessons you bestow on us through our caregiving.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts