One of the most spiritual experiences of my life was the minute I delivered Baby Girl in Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I prayed that very minute that she would choose Jesus as Lord of her life at a very young age. Twenty months later, I prayed the same prayer when #1 Son was born. The Lord honored those prayers with a resounding YES! because I was on a mission to do all I could to make that happen. On April 6, 2012, we revisited that simple prayer the moment our first grandchild was born. More like a blessing over each one, all four grands were prayed for and God’s word spoken over each one anytime I get my arms around them.
Our culture leads us to believe that having fun, baking cookies, and gift-giving make us good grandparents. As followers of Jesus, there’s so much more. In Deuteronomy 4:9 God’s people are instructed to “Watch yourselves closely so that you don’t forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children AND TO THEIR CHILDREN AFTER THEM.” (emphasis mine) We have more than a one-generation mission to share our faith, we have a two-generation mission to intentionally tell of God’s great deeds.
Most of us learned how to grandparent by how we were grandparented. My paternal grandmother was a Sunday school teacher in her local church, but she was harsh, demanding, and that corset made her far from huggable. My maternal grandmother had the struggles of marrying at 14 in the hollers of the West Virginia coal mines. She was kind and generous though I don’t recall any conversation about Jesus. I learned much wisdom from her over a flour bowl she would use to make home-made biscuits in three times each day every summer from the time I was 10-16 years old. There was a family Bible on the coffee table and picture of a Guardian Angel on the wall of her home, yet that was their extent of grandparenting with the purpose of making Jesus Lord of my life.
The average age of a first-time grandparent in the US is 47 years old. If the best time to begin a Christian legacy in a child’s life is at the beginning, the best time to begin a Christian legacy in a parent’s life is at the beginning, it would behoove us to begin a Christian legacy in a grandparent’s life at the beginning of their tenure as a grandparent. Outside of parents, grandparents have the #1 influence in a child’s life because they typically have more time over time (long-term involvement), they’ve been around the block (offer greater wisdom), they’ve got great history with the Lord (stories of God’s faithfulness and forgiveness), and they care more that their grandchildren would have a faith in something greater than themselves. Grandparents enjoy a sweet spot in a child’s life.
“My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth…things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done…which he commanded our ancestors 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.” Psalm 78:1-7