In 2012 my life took a significant turn – I became a grandparent.
‘Pa’ was born and, as with any new birth, finding my identity and role is a continuing quest.
With each successive grandchild (now totaling 5) this journey continues to evolve with some aspects gaining clearer focus.
Someone once said that raising children was never going to be easy when it begins with something called ‘labour’. For this reason, every parent needs a support network to help with this responsibility.
Grandparents are vital team members of this support group.
It is clear to me that grandparenting is important to God, with countless references to the role played by the ancestors of the tribes and nation, so it should be important to us today.
In the flow of my life through work, church, home and community I have, and continue to fill many roles. So it is in my role as ‘Pa’ – let me describe just 5 of them…
I need to get to know and understand each of these precious gifts. Asking questions opens windows into their lives.
Check the internet for questions you can ask children. Here are a few to get you started:
- What do you like daydreaming about?
- What would you do if you made the rules at home?
- If you could give $100 to someone else, who would you choose?
I like Arthur Kornhaber’s words when he calls grandparents “living time machines that transport children to the past through firsthand accounts of family history.”
Tell the stories of their parents, laugh together about the funny photos, create a family tree.
We are provided with unique opportunities to walk alongside them on their journey through life, encourage them on their way, acknowledging their developing gifts, believing in their dreams and nurturing their strengths.
Telling stories about God from the Bible and from my own life are gifts as they find and grow their own spiritual identity.
Playing endless games, reading stories, hosting sleepovers, meals together, special outings, creating memories, and so on.
I have become a magician – expending large amounts of energy for an hour and then ‘disappearing’ for 30 minutes!
There is no greater gift than praying for your grandchildren every day. Pray a blessing over them as you/they leave e.g. “May the Lord bless and protect you, show you mercy and kindness, be good to you and give you peace.” (based on Numbers 6:24-26).
Choose a life verse for each grandchild when they are born and pray that verse for them for their life
Text verses at times when they are needed. Ask them how you can pray for them.
Whatever your roles may be, remember that grandparenting is a journey of love—one that requires your flexibility, adaptability, patience, and commitment. We will fail – but let’s fail forward!
About the author…
Terry is married to Marg and they have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. His developing gifts are in UNO, LEGO, Monopoly, racing cars, fairies, dinosaurs and Zooper Doopers. Terry is also a specialist in ministry with families and children at Scripture Union Queensland, where he has worked for 36 years.