Godly Grandparenting: Ways to Inspire Faith in Your Grandkids
- Thursday, February 14, 2008
Give them a blessing. Bless your grandchildren whenever you can, by joining their parents in helping to meet their three key inner needs: a secure love, a significant purpose, and a sufficient hope. Bless your grandchildren with a secure love by letting them know that you accept them as they are, assuring them that you will always do your best to love and honor them, and giving them plenty of affection (such as hugs). Bless them with a significant purpose by regularly affirming them, applauding the things they do well, encouraging them when they’re working hard to overcome challenges, giving them your attention, boosting their confidence in who they are and why they matter, set clear moral boundaries to give them accountability, praise them when they honor those boundaries, and lovingly correct them when they don’t. Bless them with a significant hope by helping them discover the ultimate hope found in a relationship with Jesus; helping them recognize and develop their God-given abilities; encouraging them to try new things, think on their own, and stretch themselves to their limits; and helping them succeed in their various endeavors. Pray for them often. Refuse to show favoritism for one grandchild over another. Approach every point of contact with your grandchildren as an opportunity to bless them in some way, spiritually, emotionally, or physically.
Leave a good legacy. Realize that you’re determining your legacy every day by the choices you make about how to use your resources (time, energy, talents, etc.) and how to respond to the various opportunities God brings your way. Make the most of your chances to do something good in your grandchildren’s lives that will live on after you die. If you have regrets over opportunities you’ve squandered in the past to be a good parent, ask God to bring the healing that’s needed – in your own attitudes and actions, and in your relationships with your children and grandchildren. Repent of your sins, seek forgiveness from God and your children, and forgive yourself after God has forgiven you. Expect that problems in your relationships with your children that took years to form won’t go away quickly; be patient, allowing your children to gradually rebuild trust in you that will hopefully lead to restoration. Learn how to be an ally to your sons-in-law or daughters-in-law; don’t do anything that would alienate them, and do everything you can to build close relationships with them. Respect your grandchildren’s parent’s standards and rules, even if you disagree. Never undermine their parenting authority or the unity in their marriage. Make sure you speak positively about both of them. Bring honor to your family’s reputations by living with integrity, both publicly and privately. Make decisions with an eternal perspective in mind. Demonstrate what faith in action looks like to your grandchildren who are watching you.
Carry a torch. Shine the light of the Gospel into your grandchildren’s lives by incorporating biblical truth into every part of your life. Model a faithful life for them, so they can clearly see the light of hope in a dark world. Make right moral choices and lovingly help your grandchildren develop the discernment they need to make right choices themselves. Update yourself on your grandchildren’s culture, becoming informed about their movies, music, video games, fashions, etc. so they’ll know you understand their world and can speak into it in relevant ways.
Set standards. Use your lifetime of knowledge and wisdom to help your grandchildren set a clear course for their lives. Help them develop these key character traits: contagious faith (by showing them how to take God out of a box and build their whole lives around Him), consistent integrity (by showing them how to do the right thing even when no one is looking), practical poise (by helping them act appropriately in various situations), personal discipline (by showing them the power of self-denial and self-control to achieve what they want), steadfast endurance (by helping them keep going when many others are telling them to give up), and inspirational courage (by showing them how to do the right thing even when they’re afraid). But as you set standards, be careful not to push unsolicited advice on your grandchildren. Instead, earn the right to be heard by developing close relationships with them in which they’re naturally inclined to ask for your advice.
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