Grandparents hold a unique and exalted position when it comes to the process of spiritual formation in the next generation. Other than mom or dad, no one else carries the stature or inherent authority in the lives of children as grandparents. In fact, not even mom or dad can fill the role we fill. That’s why I find it troubling that so many modern grandfathers squander their opportunity by thinking, “I’ve finished the parenting task.” We are not called “grandparents” because we’ve retired from the parenting process. We are “grand” because we’ve been promoted! Our task is to do everything possible to help our family achieve success in their most important assignment of passing on our Christian beliefs and faith to the next generation. Regardless of our vocational business, our “family business” as grandparents is to inspire and nurture the faith of the next generation. Scripture commands moms, dads, and grandparents to give the next generation a framework for living rooted in their knowledge of and relationship with God. It is our job to support and reinforce the role of parents as they fulfill the command of Deuteronomy 6. It seems this generation of grandparents mentally checks-out or skims past this vital passage of Scripture assuming that it only applies to mom and dad. When did that change? Grandparents should actively and intentionally maximize every opportunity to spiritually invest in our grandchildren’s lives.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up…”
Prior generations understood this mandate to target grandparents as the patriarchs/matriarchs of faith in their extended families. We need to seize the day if we are going to fulfill our God-ordained role in the generational faith formation process. How, when, and where do you start? Kids spell “love” T‑I‑M‑E. Below are a few creative ways to establish regularly scheduled opportunities with your grandkids:
- Put a weekly “touching base” call or text message reminder on your planner to prompt “spontaneous” encouragement or conversation.
- Plan once-a-month, twice-a-month, or once-a-week sleepovers.
- Once a year, host your grandchildren an entire week or more. Some families title the week “Camp Grand.”
- Create grandfather/grandson events or dates.
- Establish a birthday breakfast tradition, for example.
- Help grandchildren select, make, or purchase Christmas gifts for their parents.
- Create a Fall Festival, Easter, or other holiday celebration.
- Observe annual celebrations of their salvation.
The most balanced way to spiritually influence children is through a three-fold approach (pick up a Family Faith Plan for details):
- Faith Talks
- Capture God moments
- Guide toward milestones
Having fun together is an important first step. Creativity and laughter opens many doors to plant spiritual seeds in their fertile hearts. You, as grandparents, can have a “grand” impact for generations to come.