Each of us has a story and as followers of Christ our stories reflect our response to God’s working in and through our lives. The greatest spiritual legacies that you read or hear about tend to be linked to individuals, families, churches and ministries that have responded in faith and obedience to God’s working in their lives. For most of us, the latter stage of our lives, the autumn season, begins to bring what truly matters into vivid focus especially as it relates to our grandchildren.
But godly grandparenting isn’t an easy task. It’s full of its own opportunities and challenges. So with the help of dozens of grandparents, we’ve compiled these 8 Keys to Godly Grandparenting.
1. Godly Grandparents know the Importance of their Relationships
Being a godly grandparent is all about relationships. Your title “Grandparent” is a relational title. It declares who you are in relation to your children’s children. Relationships can be beautiful and satisfying gifts from God and yet they can also be challenging and extremely messy.
As Christian grandparents you need to take the initiative in restoring, renewing and nurturing your relationships. These efforts will be part of how you will bless the generations to come.
2. Godly Grandparents Remember to Stay in Their Lane
Becoming a grandparent is one of the most exciting seasons of a person’s life. Unfortunately, sometimes our enthusiasm gets the best of us and we lose our sense of propriety. Usually when this happens, some boundary ends up getting unintentionally crossed. It’s easy for this to happen when your children have children. We tend to reason that we have certain rights and privileges since we are their grandparents. Well, as we all know, these little cherubs are first your children’s children, which means they are driving how these new relationships will transpire.
As much as we have loved to be in charge when it has come to our own children, we are not in charge of how this new season will go. This is a difficult lesson a lot of grandparents are learning the hard way, but it is absolutely crucial that, as a grandparent, you learn to stay in your lane.
3. Godly Grandparents Genuinely and Graciously Invest in Their Grandchildren’s Faith
The number one hope and desire of godly grandparents is for their grandchildren to know and love Christ. Relationship with Christ is the defining relationship both for this life and the one to come. Invest in your grandchildren’s faith by sharing God’s Word with them, telling stories from your life, discovering teachable moments, and praying for them daily.
May each of us seek to genuinely and graciously help our grandchildren to trust and treasure Christ more than anything else.
4. Godly Grandparents Are Available and Accessible as Much as They Can
Life has a plethora of limitations and grandparents feel these challenges in a real and personal way. Sometimes we find ourselves living far away from our grandchildren or simply having limited time with them.
These challenges require grandparents to do things that, in the not so distant past, we never would have imagined doing, i.e. Zoom calls, FacetTime, Skype, etc. Relationships tend to grow the best when they are in proximity; however, when distance prohibits this we must create a different kind of proximity. Do your best to be creative in being available and accessible.
5. Godly Grandparents Use Their Gifts and Interests to Connect with Their Grandchildren
God has given each of us gifts, abilities, and interests. These are some of the resources at our disposal when we are seeking to connect with our grandchildren. Take an inventory of some of your gifts and interests. Explore how you can use them to make some memories with your grandchildren!
6. Godly Grandparents Make Memories that Their Grandchildren will Treasure
Every encounter with our grandchildren is a moment that can make a memory or at least will feed their memories of us. I remember hearing a couple of truisms when I was in graduate school. The first goes like this: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” The second was a similar phrase: “People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
To make those sayings more pertinent to our conversation just replace the word “people” with “grandchildren.” Your grandchildren are poised and ready for memories of joy and kindness from you. Remember, godly grandparents know that every moment can make a memory.
7. The Role of Prayer in the life of a Godly Grandparent
Prayer plays a primary role for grandparents as we seek to invest in the lives of our grandchildren. We must embrace prayer as one of the great gifts of God to us, his people, to join him in bringing about his purposes in the world. Prayer gives every godly grandparent a powerful and loving way of bringing their grandchildren before the throne of grace, helping them taste and see that the Lord is good.
8. Godly Grandparents Establish a Godly Heritage or Legacy
Leaving a legacy or establishing a godly heritage is really about how your life will be remembered. It’s about the ongoing impact of your life. Every godly heritage or legacy will at least be touched by, and most likely saturated by, the sweetness of the fruit of the Spirit. You know those nine qualities in Galatians 5 that the Holy Spirit produces in us: Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
May each of our lives produce the fruit of the Spirit so steadily and clearly that the fragrant aroma of Christ will dominate the memory of our lives.