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Why It's So Important to Tell Your Grandchildren Your Stories

Why It's So Important to Tell Your Grandchildren Your Stories

It was the story of my great grandmother’s three-day wedding, complete with a Surrey of six white horses, that captured my attention as a little girl.

As my grandma shared the story that had been passed down to her, I could only imagine the details of what seemed like a fairytale celebration. It was stories like those that drew me closer to my grandma and helped me engage with her throughout my childhood.

One of the best things grandparents can pass on to their grandchildren are stories of life and love, loss and legacy. Through storytelling, grandparents are able to give their grandkids a glimpse of the past and connect with them on a deeper level.

Here are 5 reasons why it’s so important to tell your grandchildren your stories:

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

  • grandpa comforting their grandchild

    1. Stories Teach a Lesson

    Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” Psalm 66:16

    Different cultures, different places, and different times in history are wrapped up in the stories we tell our grandchildren. As we help them see beyond the here and now, we introduce rich, cultural history and important life lessons.

    Author and pastor, Jay Kesler, once said, “Young people need something stable to hang on to—a culture connection, a sense of their own past, a hope for their own future. Most of all, they need what grandparents can give them.”

    Instead of dismissing your stories as unimportant, share them with your grandkids as a way of teaching life lessons. Even the smallest of details can add value to your grandchildren’s lives and give them something to hold onto. Here are a few examples of how your stories can teach a lesson:

    • Tell them about a time you got caught for doing something wrong and the lesson you learned.
    • Tell them about your struggles in school and how you overcame them.
    • Tell them how you worked hard for something, even when you wanted to give up.
    • Tell them about the moment you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior and how He changed your life.

    You never know what seeds will be planted when you share your stories and your testimony.

    Here are a few more resources to help encourage you to share you life lessons with your grandchildren:

    7 Practical Ideas for Sharing Your Testimony with Your Grandchildren
    7 Biblical Grandparents and the Amazing Lessons They Teach Us
    A Powerful Prayer for Your Grandchildren to Know the Lord

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Maryna Andriichenko

  • 2. Stories Invite Dialogue

    2. Stories Invite Dialogue

    “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

    When grandparents open up and tell stories about their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments, it creates healthy dialogue and invites their grandkids to engage with them. Conversations go from superficial to super-meaningful when stories are shared.

    Because kids have active imaginations, it’s fun for them to picture their grandparents as young people, exploring life and doing things they’ve not yet experienced.

    If you’re wondering how your stories can invite meaningful dialogue with your grandkids, here are a few conversation starters:

    • Tell them about an award you received in sports or academics. Ask them how they would feel if they received an award like that.
    • Tell them about an outdoor adventure that involved risk. Ask them how they would feel about going on a similar adventure.
    • Tell them about a funny or embarrassing mishap, and how you can laugh about it now. Ask them about a funny or embarrassing thing that’s happened to them.
    • Tell them about something powerful God has done in your life. Ask them if they have ever sensed God working in their own life.

    Having meaningful conversations with your grandkids isn’t as difficult as it seems. Often, they are eager to hear our stories and begin to share their own. Here are a few articles that might help you tell stories to invite healthy dialogue:

    Passing on a Heritage of Faith to Your Grandchildren
    Why Your Kids Are Never Too Old for Bedtime Stories
    5 Ways to Make Time with Your Grandchildren More Meaningful

    Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

  • granddaughter hugging her grandfather at christmas, old fashioned traditions

    3. Stories Deepen Your Relationship

    “Childrens children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6 

    If you’re tired of the shallow ways you’ve tried to connect with your grandkids, through media, entertainment, and the latest toys on the market, consider telling them stories that help them see a deeper side of you.

    Let them know you were once young, too, and that you understand some of the things they might be going through. Even though there is a generation gap, and culture has changed over time, you still have valuable pieces of advice to pass on to your grandchildren.

    Help them connect with you on a deeper level by sharing personal obstacles and breakthroughs. Here are a few ideas to consider:

    • Tell them about a hardship you endured and how it helped shape you into the person you are today.
    • Tell them about a time when you were frightened and how you overcame your fear.
    • Tell them about a significant world event you experienced, such as a war or natural disaster. Share how God helped you get through that tough season.

    As you tell your stories to help deepen your relationship, be sure to engage them by asking relevant questions. Be the type of grandparent who listens well and gives your grandkids the opportunity to share their own obstacles and breakthroughs.

    As they grow up, they’ll remember these special times and hopefully feel like they have a trusted person with whom they can share life’s experiences.

    Check out these articles to help deepen your relationship with your grandchildren:

    The Godly Perspective Only a Grandparent Can Offer
    10 Reasons Your Grandkids Need You Just as Much as Their Parents

    Photo Credit: © GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

  • 5 siblings ontop of eachother in livingroom

    4. Stories Fuel Imagination

    “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

    It is good for kids to expand their imagination beyond the limitations of cell phones, iPads, and video games. Our stories give them an opportunity to create vivid pictures about times and places to which they’ve never been.

    Fuel their imagination by helping them visualize how things used to be, and take them on a journey through your family history. Offer as many details as you can, and help paint a picture they won’t soon forget.

    Just as I envisioned my great grandparents riding in their horse-drawn carriage, as friends and family lined the streets in celebration, your grandchildren will be invited to create their own visuals as you share your own life experiences.

    Here are even more ideas for engaging your grandchildren in your life stories:

    • Show them photos albums and home videos. Be sure to include pictures and videos of them too. Most kids love seeing their younger selves!
    • Use a globe or map to point out the various places to which you’ve traveled. Share with them the unique cultures and traditions of those places and invite them into a whole new world of exploration.
    • Let them see your keepsakes and mementos. Take the time to tell the story behind each one and allow them to ask questions.

    Engaging your grandkids in history-rich experiences not only draws them away from technology, it fuels their imagination and allows for creativity. Here is an encouraging article that offers several more ways grandparents can share family stories with their grandchildren. 

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Liderina

  • grandparent hands holding photo of son and grandson, how to handle estrangement from children

    5. Stories Leave a Legacy

    One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4

    Of all the reasons to tell your grandchildren your stories, the number one reason is to leave a legacy of faith. We want our grandkids to know that we are followers of Jesus Christ and long for them to follow Him too.

    Portray your life story as a culmination of events that ultimately drew you to the Savior. Tell your grandkids how God drew you to His side at just the right time and just the right way. Share with them the Good News that Jesus came to save the world, and that all who believe in Him will have everlasting life. 

    I can’t think of a greater blessing on earth, than for our grandchildren to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. While we can’t make them believe, we can plant seeds of faith in their hearts and trust God to water them and   make them grow.

    Let’s not neglect to tell our grandchildren the greatest story ever told—the story of who Jesus is, what He has done, and what He will do. They need to know this story above all others, and we have the opportunity to share it.

    Pray for wisdom to know how to best share the Gospel with your grandkids. Look for helpful resources to guide you. And, leave a legacy of faith for the next generation. Here are a few helpful resources to consider:

    Grandparent Resources
    Grandparenting with Purpose: Leaving a Spiritual Legacy
    Leaving a Legacy to Your Grandkids

    Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/g-stockstudio

    Jennifer WaddleJennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayerand is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesnt Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.