When attending a church Bible study last Sunday morning I witnessed a grandfather who was made fun of (even by the pastor) for having Facebook. I was unexpectedly blessed when I heard his response. It brought an “amen” to my lips and a challenge to all the other grandparents. He said, “The only reason I have a Facebook is to stay connected with my grand kids!”
I also recently encountered another grandfather who said, “I am not going to learn how to text. I can’t do all that stuff. If they want to talk to me they can pick up the phone.”
It’s obvious which one of these grandfathers is more connected, more devoted, going to have a generational impact and leave a legacy of faith.
How are you impacting your kids and grand kids spiritually?
I had the privilege of growing up with my grandparents living across the street. I always had the most fun at their house. My grandmother always cooked and baked us treats and we always had fun watching Jeopardy trying to answer the questions, or playing cards like Uno, Queen of Spades, and Rummy. I wouldn’t trade those times for anything.
It’s hard in these times of video games, computers, smart phones, and iPads to be the most exciting place on the block. Don’t feel defeated. You have something much more precious: your love and time. Kids today are growing up with a lack of authentic, caring connections and relationships with anyone older than them. With half of all marriages ending in divorce and lots of kids and parents so busy, they are struggling to even connect with each other. This gives grandparents a wonderful opportunity to fill in the gap and influence the coming generations.
You may find it helpful to make a list of ways that you can connect with your grandkids.
Check out some of these ideas:
For those that live close:
- Take them shopping.
- Work on projects together; sewing, baking, woodworking, etc. Use your gifts and talents to connect with them.
- Start a book club with your grandchildren! Have them keep a list of books they have read. Upon their reaching certain goals, reward them! Maybe with small prizes, an outing, an afternoon making their favorite dessert, etc.
- Invite them over for sleepovers! Play board games, bake a special treat, watch a good movie, tell stories, play with glow sticks!
- Let your grandchild teach you something that they have been learning about. Maybe it’s how to use a smart phone, how to text, maybe it’s an event in history, a book they’ve been reading, etc. Encourage them in their learning. The result will be that your relationship will grow along with their hunger for knowledge!
- Show your grandchildren family photos or slides. Tell them stories about their mother/father’s childhood, your childhood, your spouse’s childhood.
- Plant a garden, or even a singular plant, like a tree that will last for years. The memory will stay with them forever, the tree commemorating and testifying of the devotion for the future generations.
- Most importantly: always have a faith conversation of some kind. Find a fantastic story Bible and always make it a point to read a story and discuss it before or after your time together!
- Check out some more fun ideas HERE and HERE!
For those that live far away:
- Buy a smart phone and have someone teach you how to text. It’s easier than you think. (Open the program, type your message, hit send.). When you get good at that, you can easily send pictures and even video through programs (called apps) like Instagram and Glide.
- Write letters! Kids love receiving mail, use the opportunity to ask them questions about themselves, send them encouraging scriptures with explanations of what they mean to you, stickers, bookmarks, etc.
- Postage can be expensive. Thankfully, email and Facebook have created great venues for sending personal messages! You can also send fun ecards and photos.
- Use Skype or Facetime on your computer or phone to stay in touch. Have weekly “meetings”.
- Our boys even play online chess with their grandfather!
- Check out the website PasstheLagacy.com for encouragement and inspiration!
- Don’t be afraid to discipline and correct them.
- Don’t feel you always need to preach. You don’t want to push them away but at the same time you want to influence them in a positively spiritual way. Just keep in touch with them, encouraging them, praying for them and with them. Sending a scripture verse with what it means to you on a weekly basis is a great way to keep a connection.
- Remember: the goal is not to control them but to influence them.
Do you have any ideas? We’d love to hear about them, be sure to share them below!