Grandparents in the 21st century face a mix of new opportunities and challenges. Extended life expectancy has dramatically changed the length and look of the empty nest years. Many grandparents now have greater opportunities for work and travel. Tight-knit family relationships have increasingly given way to family members spread over wide geographic distances. Some grandparents face the challenge of getting time with grandchildren because of divorce. A growing number of grandparents have watched circumstances drive them to take primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren.
In this context, it has become less clear what role grandparents can best play. Are they just a good source for gifts and free babysitting? What is the most important thing a grandparent can do?
STEP ONE: Be There For Them
A grandparent’s first priority is to “be there”…one way or another. For the active grandparents whom the Wall Street Journal has described as having a full slate of work and travel, it means stopping to remember how much you depended on grandparents when you were younger and knowing how critical your presence is to younger generations. For others, “being there” means taking on the challenge posed by miles or strained relationships that might be keeping you from your grandchildren. Technology solutions such as video chatting have helped some grandparents close the gap.
Being there gives you the opportunity to show the kind of unconditional love even parents can struggle to maintain on a consistent basis. It gives you a chance to tell the family story—the people, places, and plot twists that have made your family distinct. Being there also allows you to teach things that parents may not have found time for such as how to skip a rock, how to build and fly a kite, how to make fudge, and other priceless lessons.
STEP TWO: Nurture Their Faith
Most importantly, being present and making memories with your grandchildren gives you the opportunity to impress your faith on them. Psalm 78 presents a concept of extended spiritual heritage:
“He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands” (Psalm 78:5-7).
Nothing you can give as a grandparent is more valuable than your spiritual legacy. Your gifts, time, games, food, and other contributions find their primary value when they are offered in the context of a spiritual heritage. Be very intentional about creating opportunities to nurture faith during the years your grandchildren are receptive to your influence.
Your Legacy: The Greatest Gift
By Dr. James Dobson
In a tie-in to his film release and DVD study series, Dr. James Dobson presents principles for building a lasting legacy of faith for families everywhere. We live in a culture that seeks to destroy the embryonic faith of our children and usher them into politically correct ideology, godless systems of belief, and gross immorality that would have shocked previous generations. Today's Christian parents truly live in perilous times. But the good news is that you can be victorious in this battle for the hearts, minds, and souls of your precious children. Whatever stage you are in as a parent or grandparent, you can leave a spiritual legacy that will equip your children and grandchildren with an unshakable heritage of faith.
How can you teach your children what matters most? By being intentional about their spiritual training. Your Legacy will help you make that the central priority of your family.
It Starts At Home
By Kurt Bruner and Steve Stroope
As your children grow, will their faith grow too? As both stories and statistics attest, the number of evangelical children who abandon Christianity in adulthood is staggering. To see effective change, parents cannot leave their child’s faith to chance. Rather, families must start nurturing faith early—you cannot start once your child is grown, you must start at home. Strengthening family and home life is the best way to encourage your children to maintain a lifelong faith. It Starts at Home upholds marriage and family as the proving ground for lasting success. Experienced pastors Kurt Bruner and Steve Stroope provide a clear purpose, an effective strategy, and a simple plan for anyone who wants to be intentional in their homes. Their insights will help leaders recalibrate their priorities by asking them to evaluate their leadership where it counts most. This newly revised edition evaluates the current trends families and young adults face that can contribute to this crisis. Don’t let your child’s faith fade to memory—learn how you can create a home that will prepare them for lifelong faith.
By Tim and Darcy Kimmel
Grandparents have a vital role in the lives of their grandchildren, not only as a mentor and loving family member, but as a spiritual rock during the hard times. Extreme Grandparenting helps readers understand how to make the most of the new role of grandparent and how to grow the next generation for greatness.
Don’t Quit Before You Finish
By Jimmy Draper
In Don't Quit Before You Finish, Jimmy Draper focuses on knowing that God has designed for you to be in a position of leadership and identifying the role of a leader, addressing the principles of change and other challenges leaders face. Most of the failures in leadership are self-inflicted. Failing is rarely the fault of those we serve. This book is designed to help every leader examine their own lives and implement the tools presented in this book, with the character to sustain them.