- 2001 7 Sep
Unfortunately, the word grandparent often is synonymous with babysitter. As valuable as it is for grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren, time with them should involve more than just watching and taking care of them. It should be a time for sharing gifts and talents. Be more than bystanders. God wants grandparents to bless their grandchildren in meaningful ways, with special lessons and knowledge.
- But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children's children (Deut. 4:9).
- Share who you are, what you've done, and what you've learned as a legacy for your grandchildren. This passing down of knowledge and traditions might involve tying flies for trout fishing, canning jelly, or spending Memorial Day paying respect to those who gave their lives for their country.
- Help your children raise their children. Share some wisdom with your children that you failed to share with them when they were growing up.
- Ask your children what valuable skills you taught them as they were growing up. Pledge to teach the same skills to your grandchildren.
- Ask your children how you might help with your grandchildren's education (volunteer at their school, contribute to a college fund). Read an updated etiquette book. Share with your grandchildren a few points of etiquette.
- Pledge to let your grandchildren know who you really are.
- Read your favorite Bible story to your grandchildren. Creatively demonstrate that your faith is not ancient history but a current event. Pray with them - at meals, when they sleep over, and when troublesome or joyous things happen throughout the day.
- Tell your grandchildren that whatever they tell you, you will hold it in the strictest confidence.
- Begin a hobby with your grandchildren or involve them in yours.
- Give them all you've got. When you are with your grandchildren, be there spiritually and emotionally, not just physically. Clear your mind, clear your schedule, and spend quality time with your grandchildren.
- Schedule special times with your grandchildren. Invite them to spend the night with you. If there are siblings, do it one at a time. Meet with them for breakfast or plan a special outing.
- Ask their opinion. If you have a special concern, or have read something interesting in the paper, ask them for their opinion, then consider what they have said.
- When your grandchildren prove their dependability (keeping a promise to help you with a task, remembering to practice the piano, baby-sitting younger siblings), praise them for it. Include the word responsible in your expressions of praise. (Thanks for being so responsible in helping me with the fence - just as your promised.)
From 501 Practical Ways to Love Your Grandkids & their Parents by Roger Sonnenberg. Copyright (c) 1997 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission of CPH, St. Louis, Mo., 1-800-325-3040.
Roger Sonnenberg is a pastor and family psychotherapist in Arcadia, Calif. His numerous works include Parenting with Purpose, Celebrating Life as Grandparents, and 501 Practical Ways to Love Your Wife & Kids.