It’s wonderful to have fun with your grandchildren and delight them with special gifts. Can you also draw them to you with the love of Jesus? Can they sense the Holy Spirit living in you?
A few suggestions for grandparents:
• When your grandchildren are babies, rock them on your lap and sing happy “Jesus songs” to them. Even infant minds soak up a great deal.
• As they get older, read the Bible to them. As you read, stop and ask if they understand. If they say they don’t, explain things simply, perhaps by drawing a picture or helping them act out the story.
• Pile them into bed with you and tell them character-building stories. Plan what character lessons you want to bring out and tell stories accordingly. When you can’t think of a story to fit the lesson, make one up, naming the characters “A,” “B,” etc. (Let them know you made up these stories; they will love them!) You can teach them many things by having A do this and B do that. Don’t just tell the stories; let them tell you what A or B did right or should have done. They are smart; they know! By making them think, the lesson is “brought home” more forcefully.
• Tell them stories of your life and perhaps of other relatives.
• Put sleeping bags on the floor by your bed after storytime for a special treat, because children like to sleep near Grandma and Grandpa.
• Let them help you make cookies, even if they do make a mess. They can also learn to help clean up afterward. Then help them deliver the cookies to people who are ill or confined to their homes. Or take the children to visit friendly elderly people so your grandchildren can learn to relate to and appreciate the elderly.
• Unless it interferes with your convictions, try to uphold your children’s parenting standards for your grandchildren. Sometimes grandparents will say, “Now, don’t tell your parents about this, but I’m going to let you do such and such.” Doing this will encourage children to become “sneaky” and not be honest with their parents about other things. That not only undermines the parents’ authority but also instills into children’s minds that their parents’ wisdom is faulty. And if the parents find out, they may want to restrict the time the grandchildren spend with you.
• When your grandchildren get older, help them learn to cook—boys and girls both. Teach them your recipes and help them collect other recipes.
• When they go off to academy or college, be sure to keep the lines of communication open. Besides calling, texting, and e-mailing, send them greetings/postcards and share encouraging Bible verses.
• When all the cousins get together, have them share fun and funny times of the past. Keep the memories alive!