You've Been Promoted!
Grandfathers hold a unique and exalted position when it comes to the process of spiritual formation in the next generation. Other than mom and dad, no one else carries the stature or inherent authority in the lives of children. In fact, not even mom or dad can fill the role we fill. That is why I find it troubling that so many modern grandfathers squander their opportunity thinking “I have finished the parenting task.” Hardly.
We are not called “grandparents” because we have been retired from the parenting process. We are called “grand” because we have been promoted. That means your task is to do everything possible to help your family achieve success in their most important assignment. Regardless of what business you may be in, your “family business” includes a clear purpose. Specifically, those blessed with the gift of grandchildren are called to inspire and nurture the faith of the next generation as life’s greatest privilege and priority.
The scriptures command moms, dads, and grandparents to give the next generation a framework for living rooted in the 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: “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” (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).
It seems this generation of grandpas mentally check out or skim past this vital passage of scripture because they assume it only applies to mom and dad. When did that change? Prior generations of grandparents understood this mandate to target them as the patriarchs of faith in their extended families. We need to recapture that understanding today if we are going to fulfill our God-ordained role in the faith formation process.
HOW DO YOU START?
Put in place regularly scheduled times where you will invest in your grandchildren such as:
- 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.
- Host a once-a-year entire week or more with grandchildren.
- Create grandfather/grandson, grandmother/granddaughter events or dates.
- Establish birthday traditions (like breakfast with them).
- Help grandchildren pick out and purchase Christmas gifts for their parents.
- Attend a fall festival celebration each year.
- Observe annual celebration of their salvation.
- Establish Easter traditions.
The key is creating recurring, meaningful experiences that, once they have been instituted, take place fairly automatically. Leverage the tools and resources we have suggested to make influencing the faith of the next generation easy.
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.