Grandparents hold a special place in the hearts of the grandchildren. It goes both ways. Grandparents are part of God’s continuing plan to grow up disciples of His son Jesus. Take a look at Deuteronomy 6 and Psalm 78 to get a small glimpse of that plan.
We are leveraging that relationship and intentionally helping with a Grandparent’s toolbox to share their faith through a closed Facebook group entitled Faith Grandparenting and four in-person opportunities each year to share stories and resources to help them along their way we call Grandparenting With A Purpose. “You cannot be a Christian family if you are not a disciple-making family, because your family can’t truly follow Christ if you are not doing what Christ commanded – trying to become more and more like Him and leading others to do the same.” (Family Discipleship by Chandler & Griffin)
Last week’s Grandparenting With A Purpose: Holiday Edition, shared in-person and through a Facebook Live event on the closed Faith Grandparenting Facebook group, was a very special time to share life and some great ideas.
We serve a God of celebration! Through festivals, special food, visuals, decorations, and community we stop and remember the faithfulness of God: Passover, Festival of Tabernacles, Feast of Purim, Harvest time, Holy Communion. We celebrate with our five senses with special sights (lights, tablescapes, decorations), smells (food, spaces, candles), sounds (music, words), tastes (food), and touch (clothing, expressions of affection). Traditions offer rhythms for connection and belonging for which we are wired by our Creator.
Thanksgiving – table cloth with names of who has shared the Thanksgiving table over the years; favorite foods and the magic of the “how” to make it; handwritten recipes and sharing the faith of the ones who started the family recipe.
Christmas – Ask “What three things will make Christmas Christmas?”; three gifts (Magi)
New Year’s – Do overs; time capsules; goals for physical, spiritual, family faith experiences.
Mardi Gras – Looking for the baby (Baby Jesus) in a King Cake; masks (God knows all of our mysteries).
Valentine’s Day – The greatest love story in all the world is John 3:16.
St. Patrick’s Day – story of St. Patrick; the color green reminds us to ‘grow in our faith’ continually and discussion of how we will do that this spring.
Independence Day – visit patriotic/historic places and share the stories of the faith of our founding mothers (Harriett Tubman, Abigail Adams, Susanna Wesley) and Christian heritage (John & Charles Wesley, George Washington Carver, Jimmy Carter).
Birthdays teach our kids to celebrate others. On #1 Son’s 16th birthday we collected gifts of tools from Godly men who wrote him notes of wisdom for the tool they gifted. On Baby Girl’s 16th birthday we collected letters of wisdom from Godly women, teachers, and local officials we knew who knew Jesus and compiled a ‘Book of Wisdom’ she carries with her to this day.
Anniversaries teach kids to revisit big family moments. We will share that #1 Son and his lovely wife went to church for worship on their first date after greeting her at the end of the preschool Sunday school class she was teaching.
Spiritual Birthdays – annual celebrations of making their decision to follow Jesus with a gift, donuts (life without Jesus is like a hole in the middle of your heart), balloons (God is round about His people), they tell their faith story of when they decided to follow Jesus and how they’ve grown in the last year as we prepared a plan to move forward in the next year.
Gotcha Day – celebrating when an adoption came through to become part of the family.
Driver’s License – hold a ‘blessing of the license’; laying on of hands and speaking truth of this new responsibility.
New Home – praying through each room before moving in; a New Year’s home blessing.
Rediscovering the wonder of the everyday – my granddaughter remembers me when she smells biscuits and bacon.
Time to linger – breathe & sip; chill & chat
Gifts of time – my step mother checked me out of high school just to take me to lunch and we talk about the great issues of my teenage life.
Gifts of words – handwritten notes; postcards; journals; recipes; scribe the scriptures; gift a Bible.
New skills – teach about tea; take a cooking class, power tool class; shadow a church saint (Baby Girl shadowed an ER nurse from her home church to discover if nursing was really what God was calling her to. It WAS!)
For those in-person, they enjoyed an ice breaker with The Visual Faith Project, took home confetti cannons and their own Share the Love Drive-thru bags of goodies we’d prepared for our Children’s Ministry drive-thru that had taken place the Sunday afternoon before.
If the average age of a first-time grandparent in the USA is 47, this is a demographic who is leaning into Christian Grandparenting with tenacity. These are amazing disciple-makers and I want to be on their team.
How else can you build up your grandparents with a purpose of intentionally sharing their faith with their grandchildren?
“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.” Psalm 78:4
Listen to this and other posts on the In The Trenches with DeDe Reilly podcast.