Living to Leave a Legacy for the Next Generation
We are excited to provide resources specifically designed for grandparents to live in a way to leave a legacy of faith. This kit is our gift to you with the hope that the information, ideas and activities will help you to pass faith in a fun and intentional way to the next generation… and the one that follows.
We are not called grandparents because we have been retired from the parenting process. We are called “grand” because we have been promoted!
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. Grandparents can concentrate on more of the emotional and spiritual needs of the children because they usually do not carry the burden of the day-to-day priorities such as baths, meals, laundry, etc. Those duties most often fall to the parents, giving grandparents a unique and exalted position when it comes to influencing the next generation. Other than moms and dads, no one carries more stature and inherent authority in the lives of children than grandma and grandpa.
Having influence is not the same as using influence. Every time you invest in your grandchild before the age of 12, you make a “deposit” into the influence bank. The goal is to have enough in that bank to influence your grandchild through the teenage years and beyond. Commit to making significant deposits!
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 and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
STRATEGIES FOR PASSING A LEGACY OF FAITH
Intentional Ideas to Help Pass a Legacy of Faith to Your Grandchildren
AFFIRMING EACH CHILD’S UNIQUENESS:
Each of your grandchildren needs to know that you think they are uniquely gifted by God to fulfill a wonderful purpose. Grandparents have a different perspective and have the opportunity to affirm each grandchild’s unique contributions and to help them find their place in the world. The goal is to make each grandchild feel like they have you all to themselves, basking in the affirmation and guidance they experience from you. One of the best ways to affirm your grandchild is by giving the blessing. There are five elements of an effective blessing that combine to have a powerful impact.
PROVIDING A SAFE PLACE TO TALK:
Invest in relationships with your grandkids by intentionally creating times and opportunities to talk. Over time, grandparents can earn the right to be among the most significant advisors to and confidants of their grandchildren. You can influence some of the most critical decisions of their lives, earning the right while they are young to influence them when they are older.
CLAIMING TEACHABLE MOMENTS:
Be creative and find ways to influence each grandchild through faith discussions, taking advantage of impression points. Teachable moments often come without advance notice. Grandparents increase the likelihood of seizing those moments by increasing face time with their grandkids. Deuteronomy 6:7 describes passing on faith as something we do in the context of everyday life when it says, “Talk about them when you are at home. Talk about them when you walk along the road. Speak about them when you go to bed. And speak about them when you get up.”
- BE THERE: A grandparent’s first priority is to “be there” one way or another. “Being there” may mean overcoming the challenges posed by distance by using technology or travel, or humbly resolving strained relationships with your children that may be keeping you from your grandchildren. Use every opportunity to show unconditional love, to create lifelong memories, to teach life lessons, and to have fun. Ideas for long-distance grandparenting can be found on the Long-Distance Grandparenting card included with this kit.
- NURTURE THE FAITH: There is nothing more valuable you can give as a grandparent than a strong spiritual legacy. Your gifts, time, games, food, and other contributions find their primary value when they are offered in the context of a Christian heritage. Be very intentional about creating opportunities to nurture faith during the years your grandchildren are receptive to your influence. Ideas for having intentional faith conversations can be found on the Legacy Grand Time chat cards at homepointe.org/legacy
LOVING THEIR MOM AND DAD
Simple Actions of Support Can Have a Big Impact
Perhaps the greatest impact a grandparent can have is to love their grandchildren’s parents. Help your grandchildren’s parents become more effective at home by reinforcing their rules, giving them occasional breaks and making them the heroes whenever possible.
REINFORCE THE RULES:
Try to discover and mirror the standards set by your children when the grandchildren are in your care.
GIVE PARENTS A BREAK:
Mom and Dad need couple time. Single parents need rest. This provides a great opportunity for grandparents to step in and help. The dynamics of babysitting can be transformed when grandparents see times with the grandchildren as opportunities to influence and nurture little lives rather than just a chore to fulfill.
AFFIRM THEIR MOM AND DAD:
Sometimes, in an effort to be the hero, grandparents may inadvertently rob parents of their rightful place as the most significant adults in their children’s lives. Support and encourage parents to help them be the heroes.
Relationships are our first priority if we hope to impact the next generation and pass a legacy of faith.
What simple steps can you take to become more intentional about leveraging the influence God has given you in the lives of your grandchildren?
We encourage you to take some time to write out a plan and implement the ideas included with this kit to get started.
It Starts at Home by Kurt Bruner and Steve Stroope
Extreme Grandparenting by Tim and Darcy Kimmel
Power of a Praying Grandparent by Stormie Omartian
The Power of a Godly Grandparent by Stephen and Janet Bly Creative
Grandparenting by Jerry and Judy Schreur
Grand-o-grams by Marianne Richmond