The Roots Tour

This article is written in honor of grandparents everywhere.  National Grandparents Day is

Sunday, September 11.

Recently I heard Tom Brokaw, retired national television anchor for NBC News, on the radio telling about a recent event that took place with his children and grandchildren. His children took their children on a trip that Tom referred to as “The Roots Tour.” They went back to places where they had lived, schools they had attended, visited the grandparents’ graves, recalled special places and special moments in their lives. Tom titled it “The Roots Tour.” I pondered what he had talked about, especially when it brought back to my memory a conversation with one of my grandsons. He was quizzing me about whether people had cars when I was a little boy. Of course I responded, “Well, absolutely. We had a car and most people did.” Then he asked if we had televisions, to which I had to reply, “No, we didn’t have a television until I was about 11 or 12.” He asked, “Did y’all have air conditioning?” I said, “No, as a matter of fact, we didn’t until I was even a little older.” Suddenly I realized I needed to take him on a Roots Tour.

That conversation really got me to thinking about the need that most of us have to pause long enough to be involved in a spiritual tour to take our kids and grandkids to special places and to tell them of events and activities in which we were involved. When you stop and think about it, they were not around when all of those things happened and they don’t even know where these places are, or the people who were involved with us. I want to suggest to you, as I suggested to myself, that it might be a good thing to think in terms of helping your grandchildren understand where life was and not just to tell them, but to go to the places. Take your own spiritual Roots Tour to help them understand where you’ve been in the journey to get you to where you are.

The writer of Proverbs says in 22:28, “Remove not the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.” Literally, it’s talking about keeping the important things of land lines and property in place because these are the valuable things that don’t need to be disrupted. Even more so is the need that you and I have to help our posterity understand that there are spiritual landmarks in our lives of which we would like them to be aware and which would be helpful to them as their lives progress.

With that in mind, as you think about your own spiritual Roots Tour consider taking your kids or grandkids to the place where you trusted Jesus as your Savior. It may not be an overwhelming, impactful moment at the time, but in years to come it might prove to be significant beyond anything you could ever imagine. Maybe what surrounded your experience with Christ was a revival service, or maybe you were at home, or maybe it was during Vacation Bible School. Your unique setting is worth conveying to your family. Maybe you could take them to where you were baptized after trusting Jesus as your Savior and having that public profession that you have trusted him. Where was it that you were baptized? It may have been at a baptistery at a church, or like some it may have been a creek or a lake or a pond down in a pasture. That moment in time will solidify a new appreciation for you, and help them understand your walk with the Lord just by going there and talking to them about it.

You may want to have as a part of your tour a drive around the community where you grew up so you can tell the kids about when you were in school, the people in your town that had such a significant influence on your life — coaches or teachers or maybe just some gentle soul that lived down the street. People do make a difference and they will become a part of your grandchildren’s lives. Maybe you want to take them to a special church where you can just walk around and relate to them events that took place — revivals, someone who sang or preached — maybe you were part of a singing group or maybe you sang a solo. Tell them about a play or a pageant of which you were a part, about your parents’ involvement or maybe a lack of involvement, activities that you were engaged in. For those who are in your circle of family it will mean a great deal. I am convinced that helping anchor those ancient landmarks in our lives will help our kids in the future. You can be a part of passing on a legacy, a testimony, a moment in time that will become richer, better, deeper, fuller, and continue to grow in its blessing into decades ahead.

You don’t need to just up and do it. Give it some thought and as you think it through, see if you can arrange taking one or two or a group of children in your heritage and let them experience with you not just where you went to school, but where you met the living Lord Jesus who has provided for you for eternity. Fill your heart, go over it in your mind, crank up the car, and take them with you. May God bless you.

The author can be contacted at

Jim Futral

Executive Director-Treasurer