grandson and grandfather holding hands walking away in farm fieldA few years ago, I was asked to deliver a message to a retirement financial corporation. My message on “Strategies for Being an Effective Grandparent” suggests different ways we can better connect with our grandchildren. How can grandparents use their “grand positions” to the best advantage? There are five tools my wife and I have found helpful in being grandparents or adopted grandparents to those young ones whose grandparents are absent or not involved.

  • Prudence. It takes time for grandparents to find the right balance, learning to be involved without interfering with the child’s parents. Grandparents have a lifetime of wisdom stored up. Sometimes our children can feel threatened by our knowledge and would rather we have kept silent on most matters. That is difficult, given the depth of our love and commitment to helping them become successful. Be gracious and give your children room to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Presence. Do all you can to be accessible to your grandchildren. Open your home and schedule to create opportunities to read to them, talk with them, share stories, and create adventures. No time is wasted when you spend it with your grandchildren.
  • Provision. Grandparents can provide materially for their grandchildren. A bit here and there will help. Providing for the vacation treats or extra special needs tell a child they are special. Oh, go ahead—spoil them a little, but respect the wishes of their parents.
  • Patience. Have patience with your children. They do not value or realize the significance of the grandparents until later in life. When spending time with your grandchildren model a patient spirit and temper your reactions. They need to know that both quality and quantity time are part the job description of a loving grandparent.
  • Prayer. Samuel said to the Israelites, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.” (1 Samuel 12:23a) And often, grandparents have more time for prayer and Bible reading than anyone else. Also, pray with your grandchildren and model for them what talking with God is like.

If you are a grandparent, take advantage of the unique opportunities you have to positively influence your grandchildren. Even if you feel you absolutely blew it as a parent, step up to the plate and embrace this entirely different role before you. If you are not a grandparent, there are always children who need positive role models and adults who believe in them. So, encourage them, and be willing to spend time with them.

Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 5:4

Personal Application: What comes to mind when you think about being a godly grandparent? What of your failures, praises, and successes would help a
younger person cope with this crazy world?