The bond between grandchildren and their grandparents is a union borne of simplicity. Most preschool children view life in simple terms, accepting people and circumstances at face value. Likewise, by the time most people become grandparents, the emphasis upon possessions, education, and success are no longer top priority. A simpler way of life now supersedes the proverbial ladder of success. Thus, grandparents can meaningfully reinforce the simple moral and spiritual values that are important. Where Christianity has been the thread throughout the family history, grandchildren have an enviable legacy.
How to reinforce those Christian values in the lives of the grandchildren is not a complicated procedure to be learned or followed. It is primarily living your life in Christ as you have done; but with the hindsight of being able to correct mistakes you may have made with your own offspring. In a sense, grandparents can see the end from the beginning. Since they have already been through the scary scenario of rearing their own children, they are usually comfortable around little ones.
Sometimes parents and grandparents alike fail to recognize the importance of the grand parenting role. The dynamics of grandparenting is different from parenting. According to some psychologists, it’s easy for parents to become so involved in disciplining their children that they fail to adequately affirm the child’s good character qualities. Grandparents, on the other hand, find it easier to set aside the disciplining role in order to praise their grandchildren’s strengths (without spoiling, please).
You Can Fill a Vital Role
It is during the formative years that grandparents can fill a vital role. An older grandchild’s appreciation of spiritual values and family traditions usually reflects his or her early experiences in life.
It was once stated by a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, “One of the special gifts of grandparents is their ability to influence young children.”
Christian grandparents, in particular, can have a lasting influence. There are many ways in which grandparents can be supportive to the child’s parents in demonstrating Christian values. A common practice in most homes is reading to children. Christian grandparents who read Bible Story books to their “grands” will help to teach Biblical principles. One grandfather shares his love of music by singing Gospel songs to his grand babies while he rock them. Babies will also imbibe from a spiritual atmospheres such as in a worship service.
There are also multiple less traditional ways to become involved in the lives of your grandchildren. For example, the Harrisburg area features places like Chuck E Cheese to delight children. The East Shore YMCA frequently hosts Family Fun Nights for low-cost family fun, as well as Library reading programs. Grandparents and parents alike can watch for Christian-oriented programs in their local church as well.
Many grandparents have found it rewarding to spend time alone with each of their grandchildren. The length and frequency of visits aren’t as important as the substance of those visits.
Quality time spent with each grandchild can create meaningful memories for both the grandchild and the grandparents. Quality times occur more readily in a relaxed environment. Although a trip to Disneyland with the grandchildren is exciting, most grandparents would prefer less demanding activities. It’s important to remember that children also appreciate simple, creative pastimes.
Christian grandparents, search for ways to share Jesus with your grandchildren. To do this, you will have to invest time in your grandchildren, learn how to talk on their level, and discover how to use their talents.
In Part 2, we will continue this discussion and consider how to become involved in your grand child’s life, even when you live a distance away.
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