How can you influence your grandkids?

This morning I want to share an article with you that I read in preparation for our “Not Apparent” series here at Oak Grove.  You can check it out on our website if you like.  If I were able to give a longer title to this post it would be this: How can you influence your grandkids…without alienating your children?  There are often differences between parents and grandparents on how to go about things, but grandparents who want to be involved in the spiritual formation of their grand-kids are a huge asset to both the children and the parents.  But how can you practically influence your grandchildren?  Here are a few ideas.  You can check out the full article here.

Ideas that can be done any day, any time

  • Invite your grandchildren for individual “sleepovers” at your house. While they are over, do some of their favorite activities together.
  • Pray with your grandkids. As you pray, thank God for the special qualities he has given them.
  • Teach your grandchild a new skill or one of your favorite hobbies, e.g. fishing, skiing, bicycling, jewelry making.
  • Let your grandchild teach you a new skill or share a hobby with you.
  • Enter a race and run/swim/ride or walk it with your grandchild.
  • Talk with your grandchild about a family tradition that you enjoyed with your own grandparents and/or parents, and have passed along to your children. Then continue that tradition with your grandchild. Examples could include seeing fireworks together or going to a parade, having campfires and roasting marshmallows on the beach, seeing the Nutcracker ballet or making tamales during the Christmas season, or riding bikes to a favorite ice cream place.
  • Bring out photo albums and talk about when your grandchild was born, how you prayed for them even before they were born, how excited you were to first hold him or her, and how blessed you feel that they are now part of your family.
  • Serve together at a local ministry.
  • Cook with your grandchildren. Play loud music and sing and cook (maybe even dance) together.
  • Build something with your grandchildren.
  • Share times when you have blown it, or disobeyed what you sensed God was telling you to do. Let them know how glad you are that Jesus is bigger than any sins.

Ideas for grandparents who live far away

  • Choose a book series to read with your grandchildren. Read to them using Skype, or as they get older and the books get longer, read them individually and then discuss the highlights of the book by phone.
  • Have breakfast together once a week using Skype or FaceTime.
  • Start a collection of something with your grandchild, e.g. dolls from other countries, interesting stones, coins, colored glass, and continue adding to the collection when you travel or when you are together.
  • Text them on an ordinary day and let them know you’re thinking about them.
  • Call or send a letter when kids have special events or milestones at school or church. For instance, while you may not be present for a baptism, calling your grandchild on that special day is still very memorable. The same can be true of soccer tournaments, school plays, or after a church retreat.

As a parent of three, I love these ideas because I know how important grandparents are to my children.  I especially love that grandparents can show their grandkids that Jesus is bigger than their sins.  So…if you are a grandparent, don’t give up…your influence is not done!


How can you influence your grandkids?

Family Time And Spiritual Growth

This week I read a blog that caught my eye as we are talking about parenting.  You can see the original blog here:

YouLead Research: The Importance of Family Time and Spiritual Growth

If you knew that there were three things that would help your families’ spiritual formation the most, would you encourage the parents and kids you serve to try them? If you had to guess what those three things were, what would you say?

Here are some interesting findings when it comes to the importance of family time and spiritual growth:

The Search Institute (2007) found that the three factors as predictors of faith development in teens were:

1) Frequency of discussions about faith with parents
2) Frequency of family prayer time
3) Frequency of shared family experiences and activities

We all want our kids to be better off than we are—financially, emotionally, and physically, but have you thought about spiritually? Lifeway did some great, more recent research about how to help kids grow spiritually, and it is directly tied to family time too.

Lifeway (2010) interviewed parents of young adults (ages 20-35) about what they did with their children that resulted in positive spiritual outcomes for them as adults. Among the top things listed:

  • Regular family prayer time
  • Students connecting with a leader at church
  • Teens regularly serving at church
  • Teens participating in ministry or service projects with their family

The bottom line take-away? Family time matters most.


These findings are particularly encouraging to me and helpful as a parent for a couple of reasons.

First of all, God has chosen to use my family in the development of my children…warts and all!  Yes, we as a family struggle.  Yes, I have “down” days and days where I just struggle to interact with my family with grace.  Through all of that God works and is writing a story of redemption and change.  Regular family time and prayer really helps this process.

Second, connecting my children with other adults who love Jesus is imperative!  When my kids connect with other adults, they have a circle that they can share ideas with, ask questions of and share their lives with.  This is good.  Today, on the way to school I asked them who was in their lives that they trusted and my boys rattled off nearly 15 names.  I felt incredibly blessed.  Who can you intentionally connect your children with?

Third, serving together in some way is a big deal.  Experiences where you get to be involved in seeing changed lives or making a difference truly change us!  When a family does this together, the results are amazing.  This can take the form of serving with your small group and involving your kids; finding ways to volunteer in your community (Hillcrest, Ronald McDonald House, Harvesters); or even taking the family on a mission trip of sorts.

Family Time And Spiritual Growth