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Grandparents can help pass the faith on to grandkids

By AL EARLEY

Religion columnist

What responsibility do grandparents have to pass on their faith to their grandchildren? Grandparents should always be mindful of their adult children’s parenting wishes. At the same time the Bible communicates that grandparents have a responsibility to help pass the faith on to the next generation.

In Deuteronomy 4, Moses is reminding the Jewish people of the special nature of their covenant with God, and in verse 9 he reminds them of the importance of passing that on to their families.

We read, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

One of the best ways grandparents can pass the faith on to their grandchildren is to share a blessing with them. There are many ways to do this, and I am going to list a few for you to consider. Summertime is often a time for special events with your family, and by spending some time praying for God to open the right doors, your blessing can have a powerful effect on your children and grandchildren.

This story illustrates well what I am writing about. Steve Washechek writes in Christian Grandparenting, “(My wife and I) decided to take the risk and have a time of blessing during our Thanksgiving weekend. We prayed each day leading up to the time of our gathering. We made a list of all the special attributes and characteristics we had observed in each of our children and grandchildren. We prayed that the Holy Spirit would provide the right timing and location for this special occasion. And He did!

“After a family football game, we shared how proud and fortunate we were to have a family like ours. We asked the question, how is a family like a football team? And to our surprise, everyone was hooked into the discussion.

“This set the stage for us to invite each grandchild to sit on our laps while we shared the special God-given talent or characteristic we had seen in them. The children listened intently with a serious attitude that we had never seen before. Something very special was happening that was totally unexpected! God’s presence came and was felt by all. Even our 10-year-old grandson asked if we could do this again.”

Spoken blessings are powerful. So are written blessings. They can become a permanent reminder to your grandchildren of the special gifts God has given them, which can guide them through the difficult times when their confidence or moral compass is tested. Take the time to make them a beautiful form of art that your grandchild will enjoy looking at.

Whether spoken or written, blessings can include one or all the following. First, an affirmation of how valuable each child is to the family and to God. Second, paint a picture of what God may have in store for their future. All this will require grandparents to spend time in prayer, especially this one. Third, include whatever support or commitment you would like to offer to help your grandchild realize their blessing. And finally, be brief. Ideally, your grandchild can internalize the basic message of your blessing, so it can better go with them into the future.

As a reminder, our children always need words of affirmation as well. Blessing our adult children can be more difficult for several reasons: baggage from the past, cynicism and scepticism about life, or going through tough times. It is especially important to spend time in prayer for God’s guidance to bless our adult children. No matter what age our children are, they need to know we love them, we are proud of them, and we think they have special gifts and are equipped to do amazing things for God. 

Can you remember a time someone blessed you? How did it affect your life? Can you think of some Biblical examples of the power of blessing? Do you struggle with any lies that you were cursed with when you were young? How can you be free from those lies? 

There are so many ways we can impact our grandkids lives. Get on the internet and do more research, and see if you can improve on this list, or find new ideas I didn’t think of. Whatever you find to do to enrich your grandkids lives, do so to the glory of God.

To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see www.lagrangepres.com.