Grandmothers have many names: Grammie, Grandma, Gemma, Nona, Oma, Mimi and Gammy, just to name a few. I am Mooma. I think it’s safe to say I’m probably the only Mooma around, and it all came about as a typographical error.

Ever since I learned to type, I’ve had trouble with double letters. If I were typing “funny,” it would come out “fuuny.” So one day in December 2005, I sent an e-mail to my son in Iraq as we all eagerly awaited the arrival of his firstborn back in Tennessee. I wrote, “I don’t know if I’m ready to be a grandmooma yet.”

As the days approached for the little boy to be born, I talked with his other grandmother about what he should call me. She said, “I don’t care, as long as it’s not Gammy; that’s mine!” We laughed, but I was still no closer to who I’d be. My mother is Grammie, so that was out; and Grandma doesn’t sound like who I am. When young Courtney Joel finally made his entrance on Jan. 6, 2006, it hit me that Mooma was the natural name for me.

Last June, Courtney Joel’s little sister, Evie, joined the ranks. She presented feet-first and wouldn’t be moved. During the C-section that followed, the doctor discovered the cord wrapped four times around her neck. What a smart little cookie to plant her feet and refuse to budge! (She must take after her Yankee grandmother.)

You might be thinking, “What’s this got to do with the religious page in the paper?”

God doesn’t have grandchildren. Just because your parents are Christians doesn’t mean you automatically are; nor are your children. Now, more than ever, we grandparents need to pass on our spiritual heritage; it’s the only true lasting legacy we can give our grandkids.

It brings to mind Paul’s writing in 2nd Timothy 1:5: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you”; and also in 2nd Timothy 3:15: “[A]nd how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Obviously, Lois was a believer who taught her daughter, Eunice, the fundamentals of a scriptural faith; who, in turn, passed it on to her son, Timothy, who became a teacher of the Word in the early days of Christianity. Would he have become a believer without the spiritual influence of his grandmother and mother?

Mark 10:14 says, “Jesus … said to them, ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’” We do children a huge disservice when we deprive them of a relationship with God. They’re quick to observe the adults in their lives; if church attendance or prayer or Bible study aren’t important to Mom or Dad, then why should it be important to them?

Some friends told me of a time when they were visiting their daughter and her family. They were all standing around the table, waiting to say grace, when one of the little grandsons said he wanted to read the plates like Grampy. Unsure what the boy was talking about, they said OK, and he bowed his head and began, “Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for this food …” What a blessing to have grandparents who pray and pass it on to their grandchildren.

I recently purchased a compact disc-card set for my newest grandchild, Kevin Paul Montminy III; born Jan. 23, my daughter’s and her husband’s first child. The CD has six lullabies that are all great, but the words to one especially touched my heart:

A Parent’s Prayer

I could ask for earthly riches; for silver and for gold.

I could ask for all the knowledge this world can hold.

I could ask for highest honors, for prestige and for fame.

I could ask for man’s applause and high acclaim.

I could ask for life long comfort; nothing but joy and ease;

I could ask for skill and talent, and for popularity.

I could ask for health and beauty, for good friends to see you through;

I could ask for success in all you do.

But my fervent prayer and my heart’s desire, that you would grow to know the Lord;

And to act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” In the great scheme of life, “It’s ten o’clock; do you know where your grandchildren are, spiritually?” There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time. In the time you spend with them, they know you love them; but do they know you love Jesus? The most important lesson they can learn from us is, “Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so.”

Brenda J. Norris is assistant Sunday school leader and choir director at West Lubec Methodist Church. She may be reached at Voices is a weekly commentary by Maine people who explore issues affecting spirituality and religious life.