First Things First: The Importance of Connecting with Our Grandchildren

Biblical grandparenting calls us to pray, model, observe traditions, share our God-stories, and speak blessings. All as means for discipling our grandchildren.

There is no disputing God’s design. However, I feel a word of caution is warranted.

In speaking with grandparents across the country, I have, on more than one occasion, run into a distraught grandparent. The story, nearly always the same. In understanding their God-assigned role, the grandparent has zealously stepped up. They have prayed, made a plan, and scheduled intentional time with their grandchildren. When that time came, the grandparents shared what had been prepared eagerly and whole-heartedly.

The problem? Their efforts seemed to fall on deaf ears!

As we talk, what is usually revealed is that there has been little to no relationship established with their grandchildren beforehand.

Here’s the thing. No matter our intent. No matter our heart. Our grandchildren will not be the least bit interested in our teaching or our modeling or our stories if there is no relationship.

The simple fact is that biblical grandparenting requires that we first make the effort to connect with our grandchildren. 

There are many simple ways to connect with your grandchild – a notecard dropped in the mail, a phone call, text messages for older grandchildren, playing a game, a walk around the block.

Simple as they seem, these acts of connecting are all about building relationship. For the connections help generate discussion, create spiritual dialogue, and enable us to better understand what our grandchild believes.

And keep in mind that making connections doesn’t require much money. What is does require is your time and your effort.

Follow-through is essential. To better connect with your grandchild, you must follow through on your commitment to biblical grandparenting and on commitments you make to your grandchild.

Whether we have previously given it any thought or not, we need to realize that our grandchildren are watching us. And nothing says, “I love you,” louder than our follow-through. In a culture where promise and commitment mean very little, model Jesus.

Our grandchildren need adults they can talk to without fear of being belittled or judged. Ones that don’t preach at them every time they open their mouth. As difficult as it may be, learn to zip your lips (even when it comes to hair style, clothing, piercings, and tattoos), pray like mad, and listen – truly listen.

This is crucial. Our grandchildren live in a world of noise, distraction, busy schedules, and lies from the enemy. All of which can certainly add to their questions of worth and identity.

As difficult as it may be for you, do this for your grandchild.

Turn off the television, put down your cell phone, mute the ballgame, walk away from the dirty dishes in the sink. Then immediately, turn toward your grandchild and make eye contact whenever he or she wants to talk to you.

Anyone can ask “yes” or “no” questions. But the problem with these is that the answers don’t lead anywhere. Get to know your grandchildren and build deeper relationships with them by using great “dialogue” questions.

This may seem silly or even frivolous but bear with me. The truth is that it is very difficult to connect with an old, sour puss. Don’t be a sour puss! Our grandchildren need our smiles and all those smiles communicate.

It’s been stated over and over again. A grandparent’s responsibility is to pass a heritage of faith to future generations. This, of course, does not just happen. We must pray, model, observe traditions, share our God-stories, and speak blessings. But before that, it is essential that we make the time and effort to connect with our grandchildren.

For a strong relationship between grandparent and grandchild is foundational to the carrying out of our role and to our grandchild’s decision to receive the heritage of faith.