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Ten Ways to Bless Your Grandchildren

by Bob Russell

Two weekends ago I had the privilege of speaking at a Grandparents Conference in Louisville.* It was a new and challenging experience for me as it was for almost everyone who participated. The conference was well attended and well received. With the aging of baby-boomers, a Grandparenting Conference is a niche other churches would do well to consider addressing.

The first time the influence of Grandparents is mentioned in the Bible is recorded in Genesis 48 when Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph. For nearly twenty years Jacob believed Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. When he was informed his son was alive and serving as the Prime Minister of Egypt he was overjoyed.

Joseph came to visit his father in Goshen bringing his two sons with him. Jacob inquired, “Who are these?” “They are the sons God has given me here, Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.” Overcome with emotion, Jacob embraced his grandsons and kissed them. Then placing his hands on their heads Jacob prayed, “May God bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac and may they increase greatly on the earth.”

In Deuteronomy 6 Moses told the Israelites: “These are the commands, decrees, and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God.”

Every grandparent should find ways to be a spiritual blessing to their grandchildren. Maybe you are privileged to know them well and spend a lot of time with them or maybe like Jacob you don’t know them well at all. They may be newborn and just forming their character, or like Jacob, your grandchildren may be already in their teens. But grandparents need to be intentional about helping to motivate the second generation to walk with God.

In my talk to grandparents, I shared ten principles I’ve gleaned from Scripture as well as from seventy years of observation about how to bless your grandchildren.

  1. A good relationship with your grandchildren is much more likely if you nurture a good relationship with their parents.
  2. The younger years are usually the most enjoyable; the older years are the probably most important.
  3. The best way to get close to and have an influence on your grandchildren is to arrange one-on-one time with them.
  4. It’s seldom the big deal that makes an impact but the little everyday experiences. Take advantage of those.
  5. Be intentional about getting together. If you don’t schedule it, it probably won’t happen.
  6. Demonstrate your love by just showing up at special activities, but don’t expect much of a response.
  7. The best contribution you can make is to share spiritual values with your grandchildren and that usually happens spontaneously.
  8. Be wise enough not to center your life on your grandchildren. Nurture other relationships.
  9. Take advantage of technology. Social media provides a golden opportunity to stay connected.
  10. The way to make the biggest impact on your grandchildren is to finish strong spiritually.

Moses commanded the Israelites, “… be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” Deuteronomy 4:9.

The best way to teach your grandchildren spiritual truth is to watch yourself carefully and not let your values fade as you age. If I asked you who influenced you the most in life, you’d likely name a relative, a teacher or a coach. Then if I asked you, “Write down five things you remember them saying,” you’d probably be hard-pressed to remember even three.

It’s not what we say but who we are that is remembered. It’s your character, your consistency that impacts your grandchildren. So make up your mind you’re going to finish strong. Don’t retire from the Christian life. Keep going to church, keep disciplining your habits and keep studying God’s word. Let them see Christ in you the hope of glory.

Also, let them see a spirit of joy in you. Don’t be moping around because you’re older. Be confident and happy because you know the best is yet to be. Teach by your joyful example how to how to age and die with confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then one day they will rise up to call you blessed.

For audio copy of Bob’s message, contact www.livingword.org.

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Philippians 4:13