Applying Truth in Grandparenting

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come. Psalm 71:18

I am grateful for the opportunity to influence my granddaughter, Gabriella, with the truth I learned from Carla’s teaching; truth I did not know when my own children were young.

Gene Zerwig

Q and A:

I don’t get to see my grandchildren very often. How can I make the time we do spend together more meaningful?

The Bible teaches us that Jesus is what brings purpose to our lives. As we choose to involve Jesus in activities with our grandchildren, we are creating meaningful moments together. For example, develop the habit of including God in conversations with your grandchildren: “I’m so grateful God provided time for us to spend together. I love being with you.” “Although it looks like the rain has put a damper on our plans, God knows best and has sent the rain today to nourish everything on earth that needs water.” Psalm 44:1 states: We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what You did in their days, in days long ago. You have personal experiences to convey to your grandchildren that no one else can offer. Please choose to use these personal life stories to point to God’s amazing work. Share how God has used circumstances to build character and perseverance in your life, including the specific ways He has used you for His kingdom.

As you plan activities to build stronger bonds with each grandchild, also use these moments to cause them to think about Jesus. For instance, when you play in the park, talk about enjoying God’s amazing creation around them. When you bake cookies together, explain the ingredients and recipe for personal spiritual success. When you measure how tall they have grown, ask them to consider ways they are also maturing spiritually.

When it comes time to depart from them, remind each grandchild of how much you love them and how much more God loves them. Tell them that it is very comforting to you that even though you cannot see them as much as perhaps you would like, you know God never leaves their side. In Psalm 119:111 the psalmist writes: Your statutes are my heritage forever, they are the joy of my heart. As you enjoy the memories made with your grandchildren, know that in passing down the truth of God’s Word and His nature to your grandchildren you are instilling in them a godly heritage.

Some of my grandchildren live in much closer proximity than others. Because I see some grandchildren more than others, I fear that perhaps I am favoring the ones I see more often. What should I do?

God desires that we seek His Word for answers to every question in life. In Acts 10:34 we learn that God does not show favoritism. James 2:1 tells us: My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Therefore, we should avoid showing favoritism, especially among our children or grandchildren.

The potential for favoritism can stem from a variety of sources in addition to location: Family tradition, birth order, gender, race, personal preference, the response of others, etc. These areas should all be carefully guarded. Since Jesus’ love is unconditional, we should convey the same impartial love to our grandchildren. Choosing to show preferential treatment to someone over another misrepresents Jesus and the standard of God’s truth. When a grandparent chooses to show preference to one child over another, it can also result in years of pain for the less favored child and eventually regret for the grandparent. If this is a possible issue for you, please ask God to give you victory and to enable you to love everyone as He does, impartially.

God loves each of His children equally, but created each of us as unique individuals. He does not love us uniformly, but rather communicates love in ways that show He knows us personally. For this reason, ask God to reveal to you practical ways that will speak love to the heart of each grandchild, showing them that you recognize and appreciate them as individuals. For example, write a list of ways you are praying daily for your grandchild and send them a copy. Ask God to point you to Scripture that will encourage and strengthen them in their daily activities. Place these verses on note cards to mail individually or on larger paper they can post in their bedroom.

If your grandchild likes technology, engage them regularly through e-mail or text to communicate your love and pleasure in developing a relationship with them. If your grandchild enjoys crafts, consider sending them some craft supplies with a note expressing how much you love them and how they are part of God’s unique handiwork. If your grandchild likes sports, perhaps you could send a gift they could use in their sport or a sports devotional. Include a letter expressing your love for them, noting God’s provision of athletic ability and the opportunity for them to represent Christ in this activity. Ask God to show you practical ways to convey impartiality among your grandchildren, while allowing each one to know they are special to you. In avoiding favoritism it is also beneficial to refrain from comparing one child to another. 2 Corinthians 10:12 tells us: We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. Rather than compare the physical attributes, personality traits, talents, etc. of one grandchild to another, ask God to show you ways to celebrate His created qualities in each individual child.