Be a spiritual role model to your grandchildren
By Michelle LaRowe
May 8, 2011
When children are grown and starting their own families, often at a distance, grandmothers can feel disconnected from their grandchildren’s lives. But while a grandmother’s influence may not seem as prominent today as it did in years past, her influence is no less needed or less important. In fact, grandmothers have a spiritual obligation to share with their grandchildren their faith and the things the Lord has done in their lives (Deuteronomy 4:9; Joel 1:3).
While sharing your faith may seem difficult, especially if you live far away or if your children aren’t serving the Lord, there are some practical and purposeful things you can do to be a spiritual role model to your grandchildren.
Plant seeds in your grandchildren’s lives. As a grandparent, you sow seeds of compassion when your grandchildren see you helping others in need. You sow seeds of mercy when they hear you being polite. You sow seeds of faith when your grandchildren see you believing in God for the impossible. It can be so tempting to focus only on the desired harvest in our grandchildren’s lives that we forget it begins with even the little things we do and say. We are sowing seeds that will yield a good or an evil harvest (Job 4:8; Galatians 6:7).
In everything you do, set them an example by doing what is good (Titus 2:7). I remember hearing about a grandmother who took her grandchild out to lunch at the neighborhood family restaurant. Her granddaughter wanted to order off of the children’s menu, as she always did, but she had recently had a birthday and was no longer eligible to order a kids meal. While the grandmother could have saved a few dollars by allowing the grandchild to order off of the children’s menu, she chose to do what was right and to set a godly example.
Share your spiritual legacy. In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul writes to Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (NIV). Timothy’s grandmother appears to be the first person who converted to Christianity in his family. Her sincere faith was passed on to Timothy’s mother and then to Timothy.
Make it a point to let your grandchildren know how God has met a need, changed a heart or done the seemingly impossible in your life. Let your grandchildren know when you see an answer to a prayer you’ve been praying for them. When you share how God has worked in your life, and in theirs, you are teaching that the Word of God is powerful and applicable to daily living (Deuteronomy 6:6,7).
Encourage your grandchildren’s gifts and talents by attending events and speaking or sending words of encouragement. Every time you nurture confidence in your grandchildren, you encourage them to thank the Lord for their gifts and to use those gifts for God’s glory. During years when children face lots of negative attention, positive attention can go a long way in helping you connect with your grandchildren and build a solid relationship, which is instrumental when sharing matters of faith.
Make memories with your grandchildren. Whether passing down a hobby, baking cookies together or reading a book, spending time with your grandchildren provides opportunities for you to impart your faith. When Jesus spent time with His disciples, just being with Him helped them to discover how to walk with God. Even when distance separates you physically from spending time together, you can spend time chatting on the phone or connecting over the Internet.
Celebrate holidays together. The holidays offer wonderful opportunities for you to teach your grandchildren about your faith. For grandparents whose children aren’t serving the Lord, holidays often open the door to faith-based discussions that aren’t welcome year-round. Whether it be through sending cards, letters or gifts, or by sharing about the history of a holiday or the traditions associated with it, celebrating the holidays together, whether near or far, can create a unique opportunity to plant seeds of faith.
Pray for your grandchildren. There are many ways you can serve as a spiritual role model to your grandchildren, but the most effective way to impact their spirituality is through prayer. In addition to whatever the Holy Spirit may lay on your heart, you can pray that your grandchildren:
• Accept Jesus as their Savior early in their lives (2 Timothy 3:15).
• Are protected from evil (John 17:15).
• Respect authority (Romans 13:1).
• Resist Satan in all circumstances (James 4:7).
• “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
Some grandparents even keep a faith book for their grandchildren. Like a scrapbook, it is a book full of prayers for their grandchildren that they have prayed. What an awesome way to keep track of the prayers you have prayed and all answers to prayers for your grandchildren! What a great gift to give your grandchild someday.
Being intentional about nurturing your grandchildren’s faith is one of the most important things you can do as a spiritual role model. While you may sometimes feel like your time spiritually raising children is done, nothing could be farther from the truth. Grandparenting is a ministry and one you have been commissioned, empowered and equipped to carry out.
MICHELLE LaROWE is the author of the parenting series Nanny to the Rescue! and is the 2004 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year. She attends Faith Assembly of God in Hyannis, Mass.
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