Loving-kindness and truth have met together.Psalm 85:10 (NLV translation)
Peace and what is right and good have kissed each other.
We were thrilled when we first learned we would be grandparents! We knew the day would come but wouldn’t have expected to have three grandchildren from three different children and their spouses within nine months!
I had heard about “Grandly” at a conference I attended when I was not yet a grandmother, but the idea of being strategic about grand-parenting caught my attention. Suddenly, I had grandchildren’s baptisms approaching and it struck me that I wanted to do more than give a standard gift: booties, stuffed animals, a knitted cap, or a placard with the virtues associated with the baby’s name.
I thought about how I could tell these little children of God what a sign of hope they are; how much joy and promise each of them represented. I wanted to tell them how much God loves them and what a good God we have! I wanted to tell them the whole gospel at once: that God sent his son to redeem us and that Jesus died for us so that we might live. I wanted to tell them how much I loved them from the moment I knew of their existence and how much I looked forward to getting to know them even more as they grew. I wanted to tell them that their parents loved them too and that they were doing everything in their power to raise them right.
But then my sense of reason tapped my grandmotherly emotions on the shoulder. None of this would make sense to an infant! At least, not now. That is when a “strategic grandparent” thought hit me.
I asked all of the significant people in each child’s life to write notes of encouragement, hope, and love to the newest members of the family and the church. The notes were put in a sealed envelope and given to the parents. The parents would then pass them on to the child at an appropriate time in the future, for example: at confirmation, or graduation, or at a particularly difficult season in the child’s life. The envelopes are awaiting the right time for the child to receive encouragement from aunts, uncles, godparents and of course, grandparents.
This act, this gift, has become more poignant just recently. My mother, their great grandmother, went to be with the Lord two months ago. Her voice will still speak personal encouragement to her great grandchildren some day in the future when a word of hope and love will be particularly meaningful.
Grandparents love their grandchildren. Strategic grandparents put that love to effective use. Isn’t it fun when love and reason kiss!
For your Grandly Group discussion: It can be easy to “feel the love” but not do much effective with it. Does this happen much to you?
For action: Look for the next time you feel great affection for one or more of your grandchildren. Use it as a trigger moment to think about what you could do to act or pray strategically.
Copyright © 2018 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club
Top photo image of grandmother holding baby grand-daughter, from Bigstock.com, © copyright: scaliger , stock photo ID: 425867810
Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club is a program of the Sword of the Spirit. This program was founded in 2016 by Mike Shaughnessy as a resource to equip grandparents to share their faith with their grandchildren. Grandly teaches grandparents to “Think, Pray, and Act Strategically” in the lives of their grandkids. It recognizes that grandparents occupy a special role in the lives of their grandchildren, and if properly trained, can make an outsized impact on their spiritual lives.
As a youth minister, Mike knew the difference grandparents could make in the lives of their grandchildren. He wondered if it could happen more often. It wasn’t that they lacked the faith. What they lacked was a strategy. If grandparents learned how to think, pray, and act strategically, the way youth workers did, something marvelous would happen. It has. Strategic grandparents have become missionaries to their own grandchildren.
We equip grandparents to be “youth workers” to their own grandchildren. When we ask grandparents, “What is your biggest concern?” Most answer “our grandchildren,” not their retirement or the next vacation. Many see that their grandchildren are not getting the spiritual and moral formation they need, and feel equally unable to address that need. We currently equip grandparents to be youth workers through two venues: our website (grandly.org) and our “Do It Grandly” Seminars.
Our website reaches a network of grandparents who are interested in learning how to think, pray, and act strategically. We publish bi-weekly online articles that provide encouragement, motivation, and practical tools on how to pass on their faith to grandchildren. Through our “Do It Grandly” seminars, we help grandparents to grow in their relational skills while providing insight into contemporary youth culture, giving them valuable tools for building impactful, Christ-centered relationships with their grandchildren. These seminars provide a way for Sword of the Spirit grandparents to re-enter internal (their own grandchildren) and external (their own peers) mission. For access to inspirational articles, sign up for a free membership at www.grandly.org.
Teresa DeMarais is the grandmother of three and lives in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota