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10 Powerful Gifts to Pass On to the Next Generation

  • Janet Thompson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2019 18 Mar
10 Powerful Gifts to Pass On to the Next Generation

My husband and I recently spent ten days with three of our grandchildren, their dog, and an aging cat while mom and dad went on an anniversary vacation. The kids are 14, 13, and 10 years old with the usual school and youth group activities.

It was Grammie and Grampa in charge in the middle of a snowy winter. Many people called us brave and a few even said we were crazy, but we considered it a blessing.

Yes, we didn’t always do things like their parents did, but we introduced a few new ways they’re still talking about.

We’ve always considered it a privilege to pour into the lives of our eleven grandchildren.

So as I think of gifts we can pass on to the next generation, in our families and our sphere of influence, this verse comes to mind:

Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. —Joel 1:2-3

In the spirit of this verse’s encouragement, here are 10 powerful gifts we can pass on to the next generation:

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Jose Luis Pelaez Inc.

  • 1. Prayer

    1. Prayer

    When we had a prodigal daughter, I prayed for her daily, tearfully, and persistently. I knew that I might not see changes in her in my lifetime, but still I prayed God’s will for her life. I’m so glad I didn’t stop. Today, I pray for my eleven grandchildren daily. I don’t always know what they’re dealing with, but God does.

    Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.—Proverbs 22:6 NLT.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Jose Luiz Pelaez, Inc.

  • 1. Prayer

    2. Share God’s Word

    When we gave our five-year old granddaughter her first Bible, her six-year old brother exclaimed in awe, “It’s a real Bible!” We soon got him a real Bible, as well as the other grandkids.

    The Bible is a recorded history of our Christian faith reminding us why we believe and what we believe. Now, it’s our job to ensure that God’s unchanging Word prevails and reigns through future generations.

    We need to pass on the hope we have in Christ by equipping them to read and understand the Bible and accept Jesus as their personal Savior—not encumber them with rules easily broken, but guide them toward a relationship they wouldn’t forfeit or jeopardize for anything or anyone.

    Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.Psalm119:105 NLT

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  • 1. Prayer

    3. Leave a Legacy

    I remember sitting with my six cousins at our grandmother’s feet while she read to us from her Bible. It was important to her that we had a faith foundation early in life.

    The legacy I hope to leave through my ministry is that I’ve encouraged fellow Christians to be bold and brave in defending their faith and spreading the Gospel. The legacy I hope to share with the next generations in our family is that Mom/Grammie loved Jesus and lived what she believed.

    I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. Psalm 78:1-4

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  • 1. Prayer

    4. Tell Family Stories

    Telling family stories of God’s goodness keeps the memories alive. We all have them; we need to share them with our children and grandchildren.

    Can’t you just imagine the generation that came through the Red Sea on dry ground telling their wide-eyed grandkids sitting around the evening fire about the miraculous way God freed them. And the grandkids told their kids down through the generations.

    Kids love to hear stories of when their parents and grandparents were young and stories about when they themselves were little. We just need to take the time to tell them.

    Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;let them proclaim your power.Psalm 145:4 NLT

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  • 1. Prayer

    5. Family Traditions

    The next generation may not want our “stuff,” but they will want our traditions. It only takes one generation neglecting to pass down a heritage to the next generation for a way of life or belief system to vanish.

    That chilling fact underlines the magnitude of our responsibility as parents and grandparents to share the goodness of God with our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and for them to do the same.

    But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.Deuteronomy 4:9 NLT 

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Ariel Skelley

  • 1. Prayer

    6. Our Testimony of Experiencing God in Our Lives

    New generations don’t know God in the same personal, experiential sense as their parents and grandparents. God repeatedly tells his people to pass down to future generations the awesome wonders they saw him do in their own lives because the younger generations weren’t there. God even told Moses to preserve two quarts of manna for “the generations to come” so they would appreciate the unique way God fed their ancestors in the wilderness because manna would never flow from heaven again.

    Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm.—Deuteronomy 11:2

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  • 1. Prayer

    7. Our model of the Christian Life

    The liberal culture is ready to teach today’s generations the ways of the world that don’t include living a moral righteous life.

    Each generation has a predisposition to look at God as the God of the past who doesn’t understand the current culture’s issues. They need godly mentors, parents, and grandparents who they can respect … and who they can expect to live out their faith. Hypocrisy—saying we believe in the Bible but not living by the Bible—will turn off children at every age.

    Today’s generation needs an authentic, spiritually wise older generation who will invest in the lives of those coming after them.

    Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.1 Corinthians 11:1

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  • 1. Prayer

    8. Our Willingness to Listen and Answer Questions

    One night when our granddaughters and friends were visiting they asked, “What’s a virgin anyway?” They had misconceptions.

    Another time we needed to clarify for them what it means to be a Christian. The next generation is crying out for moral direction and guidance.

    They need mentors and parents to have the tough honest discussions about abortion, sexuality, sexual exploitation, marriage, homosexuality, transgenderism, radical Islam, cults, drugs, alcohol, abortion, suicide...whatever they’re facing in their world.

    Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.—Deuteronomy 32:7

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Simona Pilolla EyeEm

  • 1. Prayer

    9. Time

    This is the era of electronics. But we find that when we suggest bringing out a game to play together, no matter what their age, our grandkids put down their phones and join in. Lots of talking, laughter, engaging with each other takes place. Hours go by. Time well spent.

    Many have grown up with two working parents who didn’t have a lot of extra time. As we grow older, we have a choice of what we do with our time. God tells us to use it pouring into those coming up after us.

    There is a time for everything.—Ecclesiastes 3:1

    Photo Credit: ©Thinkstock/dobok

  • 1. Prayer

    10. Love

    All ages need lots of love. My fourteen-year-old grandson always greets me with a hearty hug. I tell my grandchildren repeatedly how much I love them.

    It’s important for the next generation to understand what genuine love looks and feels like when they’re tempted to fall for I-want-something-from-you pseudo love.

    Let them know how much Jesus loves them. Help them learn for themselves that God loved them so much that he gave his only Son so that they might not perish but have everlasting life.

    The greatest of these is love.—1 Cor. 13:13


    Some excerpts from Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten used with permission by Leafwood Publishers.

    Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books.Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness, which is the subtitle of her latest release, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness.

    Everyday Brave: Living Courageously as a Woman of Faith is due out September, 2019. She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s CancerDear God, He’s Home!Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

    Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

    Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com.

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