Thanksgiving is approaching, and we are making plans –
Well, at least the best we are able to plan anything during this unpredictable season of COVID!
And while we, looking forward, anticipate what might be, we also look back!
Our daughter’s family moved to Long Island one week prior to Thanksgiving. A year later, on the first anniversary of their move, we gathered for the holiday and found ourselves surveying the damage of Hurricane Sandy — buildings destroyed, debris everywhere, mammoth trees uprooted.
The peculiar thing? The gargantuan trees sprawled across lawn and roadway and house were all trunk and limbs with almost no root system at all. They lay there destroyed, because nothing was holding these colossal beasts in the ground when the harsh, beating winds blew.
Taking that scene in over and over during those days in New York, my mind went to my grandchildren.
My grandchildren are the tree and only by watering will they develop the deep roots to help them stand through the storms. And it is my job as their grandparent to help provide the deep roots.
3 Ways to Provide Deep Roots
1. Embrace my role –
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”Matthew 28:18-20
My role is God-designed and assigned. Given to me to be carried out in this season of my life, I must not try to exchange it or ignore it. God’s Word tells me that I am to be on mission, making disciples of Jesus Christ. My priority from the Bible’s perspective is to raise children and grandchildren who love God and have a desire to serve Him and please Him. In other words, I am to be a disciple-maker, actively passing a heritage of faith to my children and grandchildren.
2. Engage in discipleship practices –
Since God has assigned me such a weighty role, I am so glad He does not leave me to wonder about the HOW of carrying it out. Just as He always does, when He calls, He provides. I simply need to go to His Word to find everything I need to know about being a godly grandparent.
When I search the Bible, some of the methods I find for carrying out my role are:
- Gathering & Influencing – Planning intentional meals and family gatherings when I can share Jesus.
- Giving a Blessing – Imparting good through my words and actions.
- Modeling the Fruit of the Spirit and the Character of God
- Telling Stories – Stories of God, both historical and personal. My stories should include Bible accounts of God’s work and love; the Good News of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension; my salvation story, stories of our family heritage, and my personal faith journey. Pointing to who God is and telling of His wondrous works at every opportunity.
- Instituting and Observing Traditions – The practice of handing down stories, beliefs, and customs from one generation to another in order to establish and reinforce a strong sense of identity, traditions are a vehicle by which I help my grandchildren develop a sense of connection and belonging.
- Teaching – By my words and actions, offering instruction and guidance to help in the shaping of my grandchildren.
- Praying – Both for my grandchildren and with my grandchildren for my prayers have eternity-impacting power.
- Asking Questions – A powerful tool for connecting with my grandchildren and opening the way for spiritual dialogue.
- Caring for My Soul’s Health – Spiritually parched, I am no good to anyone. My own relationship with the Lord suffers greatly. Empty, I am not able to “water” my grandchildren.
If I am to carry out my responsibility of passing on a heritage of faith in Christ to my grandchildren, I must be about the business of engaging in these and other discipleship practices as found in The Bible.
3. Live with intention –
I need to do more than simply have good intentions about my role and the methods for carrying it out. I must ACT on them – thoughtfully and deliberately, even to the point of being inconvenienced.
- I can make a formal commitment by putting my intentions down on paper.
- To add some accountability and increase the odds of my follow-through, I can share my commitment with someone – my believing spouse, another grandparent, or even my grandchild.
- Above all, I need to schedule my interactions (opportunities for practicing discipleship) with my grandchildren. This idea may sound a little odd, but I have found that unless my idea is written on my calendar or an alarm interrupts my day, my good intentions seem to stay just that – good intentions!
What do you think? With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, how might you help to deepen the roots of your grandchildren?