I can remember, years ago, having the opportunity to be with my grandfather during his final days. I vividly remember all the tubes attached to his body. Those dripping lifelines sustained him, but only for a short time, as he struggled for his life and then finally lost the battle and died.

Granddad was a huge influence on my life. What I remember most about him is that he was consistent, and always accessible. I was a teenager when he was retiring, and I got into more than my share of trouble. More than once he towed my car to the garage, came to my rescue, or bailed me out of a tough situation. When the pressure was on, I knew I could always call Granddad.

His death deeply affected me, and I grieved his loss, but as I reflect on his life and try to make the most of what I learned from him, I keep coming back to the question: Am I living with the same resolve and commitment he had to his family?

As a grandparent, or a “grandparent figure,” you have tremendous power—probably more than you realize. You have the power to strengthen the next generation or destroy it. Your invisible presence can be felt for decades. When that presence is positive, as a responsible, caring friend and mentor, you become a point of reference by which your children and grandchildren can measure the universe. When your presence is negative, it often takes years for your descendants to process the pain and find healing.

I am inspired to be a better man when I remember my Granddad. Who inspires you? I hope you’ll make the most of every opportunity to act with generational resolve and become proactive as a grandparent.

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Consider the following questions:

1) How did you invest the bulk of your time with your family the past year?

2) Did you pursue the things that were really important to your relationships?

3) What was the biggest obstacle that kept you from doing with your family what was on your heart?

4) What is one important goal you have for them for this coming year?

Never underestimate your power. You have the potential to influence and shape generations.

And thanks, Granddad, for your example.