Intentional Grandparenting

      My wife and I have five children, so we knew becoming grandparents was likely.  Although in our fifties, it feels odd to be grandparents but it’ not uncommon.  We now have one grandchild in heaven, one who is delightfully 1 ½ and one still in the womb that we will meet soon.  Yes, our toddler granddaughter is delightful, and I have many pictures if you are interested!  I must ask myself and you; what does it mean to be a godly grandparent?
     Our culture encourages older people to make retirement a season of travel and play.  In contrast, the Bible encourages intentional discipleship as the goal of the older years (Deuteronomy 4:9, 6:1,2).  Particularly, small children can look at grandparents as heroes.  But even as an adult I remember my grandparents as heroes, huge influencers in my life.  Let’s use the acrostic H.E.R.O. as some keys to grandparenting well. 
      H. is for Heart for God.  Your grandchildren need to hear and see you point to your relationship with God as THE great key to life.  My grandparents loved the Lord and it showed.  They served their churches and communities. They were people of prayer. My parents would send my kids cards and would include Bible questions to create dialog.  I pray regularly for my grandchildren.  Rhen is a toddler, but I am already praying about her future spouse and the calling on her life; and yes, I have already begun to pray for our grandchild who is still in the womb.  Prayers never have an expiration date, our prayers for our grandchildren will ring in the ears of God long after we are gone. 
     E.  is for Example.  Direct teaching is helpful but often more is caught than taught.  Children are always watching.  I have watched small children step in the snowy footprints of their grandparents when out on a walk in wintery Fairbanks.  I am moved by this picture of children walking in the footprints of those who have gone before. I love a line from the poem “I’d Rather See A Sermon” by Edgar Guest;   “The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear, Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear.”  Children often act like the people they spend the most time with.  Invest your time and they will pick up what your value.
     R. is for Rejoice.  At the heart of the Bible is a smiling God, a God of joy.  Children are drawn to joy.  Joy is deeper and greater than pleasure.  Joy is found in a robust relationship with God.  Sometimes older people can sour because of the challenges of life; resist this tendency; be a person filled with this fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23).    
      O. is for Others.  Some of the best volunteers I see in churches are older people.  If retired, they have more time to give.  I see many grandparents providing child-care for their grandchildren.  Christ calls us to be loving servants of others.  This call is countercultural and will only be caught by our grandchildren if they see it.  Sometimes grandparents move to be closer to their grandchildren and invest intentionally in them.  If you are blessed to have grandchildren, I hope you will be a H.E.R.O to them.  We each have one short life to offer Christ; leave a legacy.
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church