Perhaps you fondly remember good times in your past when you looked forward to the time to visit your grandparents for the holidays or other times of the year…whether they lived a distance from you and you didn’t see them often, or when they lived closed by and you saw them a lot.
Now, you are a grandparent.
Getting older brings a clarity to what’s important. While we want our grandkids to remember the good times at our house during their visits, we also want to leave them with a godly legacy. With this in mind, please consider the following ten things that grandparents can share when with their grandchildren.
1. I’M SO GLAD GOD MADE YOU.
Our grandchildren are growing up in a world that does not acknowledge God as their Creator. It is vitally important that parents and grandparents regularly remind them how God carefully designed them in their mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13-14
Along with knowing that God made them, kids also need to believe that people who are important to them are happy that they are alive. Many kids struggle with feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. They may act out, but they will probably never say to parents, “When you are too busy to play with me, or listen to me, read to me, or tuck me in at night, I feel like I don’t matter.”
As a retired grandparent you have the time to let your grandkids know they are important to you and their parents and to others…by your personal visits or overnights at your home, regular e-mails or texts, phone calls, letters (some kids today may have trouble reading cursive), cards that say “I miss you”, or “I love you”, remembering them on special holidays with a card or note—better yet, hearing how much you care for them in person followed with big hugs. Their knowing that you are glad they are your grandchildren and a child of God is priceless, no matter if they are a toddler, a teenager, a graduating senior…or, when they mature into adulthood.
2. I WILL ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOU.
If you want to assure that you have opportunities and the privilege of speaking truth to your grandkids, you are going to have to earn that honor by being a good listener. Don’t just speak to your grandkids when you see them making mistakes or choosing a wrong path. If the only time you talk to them is when you want to correct, criticize or lecture, don’t be surprised if they won’t show any interest in listening to your words of wisdom when they reach adolescence or become young adults. A compliment or positive reinforcement that is genuinely expressed is remembered and treasured.
3. YOU ARE PRECIOUS.
All little children like to sing and hear the song Jesus Loves the Little Children. How nice to tuck them in as you sing, “Red, brown, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight” and then show how precious he or she is to you with a kiss and a hug. God puts into the heart of every person a longing to feel they are valued by their Creator, but also to know they are loved by others so they learn to know how to give love. The more value your grandchild feels from you and others in their family, the more they will depend on that affirmation rather than that of their peers and succumb to peer pressure.
4. GOD LOVES YOU.
It is right to train children to honor and obey God’s commands. But, don’t focus just on the dos and don’ts and miss the wonderful opportunities to tell the grandchildren about the depth of Jesus’ great love for them and the saving grace of God provided by his sacrifice for us.
Kids learn how much they are loved when that love is demonstrated by loving actions, rather than just with saying “I love you.” You don’t want them to feel your words are just empty words. Remind your grandchild how God lovingly offers new life in Christ to anyone who would turn from their sin to follow Jesus—they will realize how great the Father’s love is for them.
Be able to share with them Bible verses, like:
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God. 1 John 3:1
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
But God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
5. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE.
From the moment a child is little, people start asking them what they want to be when they grow up. Some have a definite plan early on; others have goals that change daily—and, that’s okay. But, for sure, your grandchildren are giving lots of thought to what they should do with their lives. The power of your words as a grandparent is great…temper what you say and encourage them to follow God’s plan for their lives. Tell them the stories in the Bible about people who wholeheartedly followed Christ along the plan the Lord had for them. Inspire them to trust that God has a plan for their lives, too. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for them to have this answer when asked what they plan to do: “I’m going do whatever God wants me to do.” Jeremiah 29:11-14; Proverbs 16:9
6. LOVING GOD IS THE SECRET TO LOVING OTHERS.
Loving others selflessly does not come naturally. (Note: Watch young kids take other kids’ toys.) Kids need to be trained to show love and respect to others. When the religious leaders asked Jesus what was the priority of life, His response was, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Mark 12:30-31. It is a very difficult task to love others without first developing the depth of our love for God—even harder with those who are difficult to love. As grandparents your expressions of love should be examples of the love you want them to express. Jesus said, “The student will become like his teacher.” Luke 6:40
7. BE QUICK TO FORGIVE.
Learning to quickly forgive others and still think well of them are valuable lessons you can teach your grandchild. Holding grudges and rushing to judgments about the motives of people’s actions is part of our sinful nature. With God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, it is possible to break free from “quick to judgment” attitudes and be ready to forgive and look for the best in others. Help your grandchildren develop so others see them as someone nice to be around and someone to trust as a loyal friend.
8. BE CONTENT.
Today’s generation demand and thrive on immediate satisfaction—entitlement to more of whatever their hearts desire. Don’t pile lavish gifts on them; temper your gifts and train them to be grateful for what they have. Train them in the secret of contentment for a happy life—what things are the most important—beginning with your own example.
9. I’M PRAYING FOR YOU.
Pray at all times for your grandchildren; when you have told them you do and they know that you do, it provides a great sense of security and teaches them the power of prayer. One of the most powerful legacies you can leave your grandkids is training them by example the importance of prayer.
10. TELL OTHERS ABOUT THE HOPE OF JESUS.
Do your grandkids hear you complaining about how the world’s going to hell in a hand-basket? Or do they sense your burden for the lost who are blinded by the enemy?
It’s easy to point out what’s wrong in the world today––and we should help our grandkids learn to discern right from wrong. But, couple those comments with your deep sorrow over the lost; and, explain how their only hope for salvation is if we, as Christians, tell them God loves them so much He sent His Son to save them from their sin.
In this way you’ll train them not to grow overwhelmed with anxiety, but rather to ask God to use them as a light shining like a star in a crooked and perverse generation (Daniel 12:3, Philippians 2:15). For in this, your grandchildren will find purpose in life and hope for the future. You won’t regret it!
Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16