Calling All Grandparents: How to Love Your Grandkids
- Monday, July 16, 2012
Loving your grandchildren doesn’t have to be complicated. One-on-one attention from Grandma or Grandpa is priceless. May I share two personal examples? I grew up overseas and therefore did not get to spend much time with my grandparents, who lived in the States. However, I have vivid memories of two particular occasions on which my grandfathers let me know they loved me. One hot summer day when we were in the States on furlough, my grandfather, Poppy, offered to buy me a Popsicle—for no special reason at all! He heard “the popsicle man” making the rounds in the neighborhood, pulled a nickel out of his pocket, and told me to “run get a popsicle!” I was utterly amazed. Such extravagance! That was one of the most precious gifts I ever received in my life—because it was from Poppy.
My other grandfather, PawPaw, was a quiet, gentle man, and he didn’t usually pay much attention to my sisters or me whenever we visited in his home. But once I was at his house and needed to work on a school project that required glue. Well, PawPaw had no glue in the house, but . . . he said he would teach me how to makeglue! He explained that when he was a little boy, they never had bottled glue or scotch tape in the house, yet they always managed to figure out ways to hold things together. I was enthralled by my grandfather’s genius as he patiently, slowly showed me how to stir together a paste of flour and water to make “homemade glue.”
I’m sure PawPaw demonstrated his love and affection to me in many ways that I have forgotten about, but I am grateful for that special memory: an unplanned treasure in my heart that occurred simply because I was spending time with my grandparents. Love your grandchildren with all your heart. Be generous. They need your influence and encouragement in their lives.
What can you do together? Simple activities such as putting family pictures in albums and telling family stories can totally delight your children’s children. Or look at family albums that are on hand already and tell family stories!
Plant in their hearts a vision for the future; suggest ways God could use them to bring Him glory. Tell them how you met Jesus and became a child of God and how He has taught you about Himself and His ways since then. Tell them fun and funny and encouraging stories about his or her mom or dad when they were children!
Nurture Their Souls
My grandmother taught me how important it was to say thank you. I’m sure my parents had taught me to express gratitude long before my grandmother discussed it with me, but when Grandmother talked about gratitude it made a bigger impression for some reason. It must have been one of those “teachable moments” we hear about.
I can vividly recall hearing my grandmother explain how people like to hear the words “thank you,” and then she explained that God likes to hear those words too. At age 11, I’d never seriously thought about that before: I can actually bring pleasure to God by saying “thank you”—to Him and to others!
That year I asked my mother if she would buy me some stationery, and I carefully wrote thank-you notes to each of my teachers. I thanked them for teaching me and encouraging me. I think it may have been the first thank-you note many of those teachers had ever received—at least from a seventh-grader. I experienced great joy in my soul as I wrote those notes, and it was all a result of my wise grandmother’s exhortation to be thankful. Be intentional as you teach your grandchildren how to be patient, kind, honest, careful, and thorough. Dream up little projects in which specific character qualities are needed for success, and encourage them to develop those character qualities.
Nurture their souls by reading good books together. Discuss the motives of the characters, their actions, and the consequences. Relate events in the story to events in their lives. Listen attentively as they answer your questions and give you a glimpse into their souls. You may be able to offer a listening ear that Mom and Dad just can’t offer right now.
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