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Pouring Into the Lives of Your Grandkids

Pouring Into the Lives of Your Grandkids

Grandparents are an integral part of the family, passing along wisdom, faith, and love. While many of the "rules" of grandparenting are timeless, some of the games have changed. Chrys Howard and Shellie Tomlinson will help you better understand the unique role you have in supporting your adult children and influencing your grandchildren.
Original Air Date: November 9, 2021

Preview:

Shellie Tomlinson: They can come in and infuse some strength and this is what we can do as grandparents. So, we’re, kind of, on the sidelines, we’re ready, we’re suited up, if you need me mom and dad, I’m here. But when we, when we’re called up, we may blow the whistle or whatever, they call us in, we’re fresher, you know, we’re not, like, embedded in the nuts and bolts of the raisin’ the kids, and so we can come with fresh strength.

End of Preview

John Fuller: That’s Shellie Tomlinson, she’s with us today on Focus on the Family, along with her friend and co-author, Chrys Howard. Your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us, I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Uh, John, here at Focus on the Family we love grandparents. I mean I’m not one yet, you’re not one-

John: Yet.

Jim: … yet, but we’re looking forward to that time.

John: One day.

Jim: And it’s one of the things that people will contact us about. They’d like to see more content for grandparents-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and so here’s your day. We’re gonna talk about being a grandparent, being a really good grandparent, and how to do the right things and avoid doing the wrong things. And I am lookin’ forward to this discussion so that in time, and the right time, when I become a grandparent, I’ll be equipped.

John: You’ll know better how to engage with your grandkids.

Jim: (laughs) That’s the goal.

John: Yeah, that’s … Uh, this is gonna be a fun program. Uh, Chrys Howard and Shellie Tomlinson both are grandmothers. Um, Chrys is a prolific author and one of the Duck Dynasty matriarchs, I guess you could call her. Shellie is an author and speaker, and between the two of them they have over 20 grandchildren, and I believe at least one or two great-grandkids-

Chrys Howard: Yes-

John: … which is crazy.

Chrys: … yes.

John: Um, they’re host of the popular Rocking It Grand podcast and they’ve captured some of their stories and wisdom in a great book by the same name called Rocking It Grand: 18 Ways to Be a Game-changing Grandma, and we have copies of that here at the ministry at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: And while we’re talking about, uh, being a grandparent with two grandmas, we also want the grandpas to hang in there, ’cause this content’s-

Chrys: Yeah.

Jim: … gonna be relative to you and we want to help you in that journey as well. And let me welcome both of you, uh-

Shellie: Thank you.

Chrys: Thank you.

Jim: … to Focus on the Family.

Shellie: Thrilled to be here.

Jim: It’s good to have you. You guy … You’re- you’re really fun. We’ve had a little banter already. I know this is gonna be great.

John: This will be energetic.

Jim: Now as we’ve said, uh, John and I we’re not grandparents yet in our little journey, but I hear it’s pretty good. Uh, what’s your favorite thing about being a grandparent?

Shellie: Oh, favorite thing.

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: Chrys, I’ll let you go first.

Chrys: Well-

Jim: Ice cream.

Shellie: Favorite-

Chrys: (laughs)

Shellie: … thing-

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: … the grands-

Chrys: Ice cream is always involved. In- in-

Jim: (laughs)

Chrys: … our neck of the woods, ice cream and Chick-fil-A are always part of-

Jim: (laughs)

Chrys: … something. I mean … Yeah, uh, there was a time when mine … My grandkids now are, they range from 17 to 25-

Jim: Hm.

Chrys: … so I’m on the great grandkids stage now. I have five great-grandkids.

Jim: Oh.

Chrys: So, there was a time when my entire minivan smelled like something, like, a McDonald’s-

Jim: Like spilt milk.

Chrys: … or something.

Shellie: Yeah-

Jim: (laughs)

Chrys: … it was just, like, so many things. But my favorite thing of being a grandparent is just watching them grow up and being able to pour into them and see the things that you pour into your grandchildren, like you did with your children, actually come about and play out.

Chrys: And, uh, just recently one of my granddaughters, uh, was away and, um, uh- uh, she was in California, we live in Louisiana. And just in the middle of the evening at 11:00 I get a text saying, “I miss you.” You know-

Jim: Aw.

Chrys: … how precious is that, that I have developed a relationship with my 18-year-old granddaughter, that when she’s in California she has even a thought about me, you know?

Jim: Right. (laughs)

Chrys: Uh, ’cause I think about them all the time of course. But to know that I am part of their thinking, and that they love and miss me-

Shellie: That’s very special.

Chrys: … no matter where- where they are, so.

Jim: That is awesome, yeah.

Shellie: So special.

Chrys: That’s gotta be top of the list of favorite things, you know.

Jim: Great.

Shellie: Mine are younger and so my oldest grandchild is 12, or 12 and a half, and then I have one that’s one and half-

Jim: Aw.

Shellie: … so I have six that range in those ages.

Jim: Hey, by the way, 12 and a half is actually 13.

Shellie: Uh, right.

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Shellie: She probably would prefer I say 13.

Jim: I’ll just step up-

Shellie: Uh-

Jim: … for her right now.

Shellie: … right, you speak for her.

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: I think my favorite thing in this grandparenting journey has been that you’re at a different place yourself and so you interact with them differently than you did with your children. You … There’s not quite as much expectation and so you can engage in more conversation. There’s not the nuts and bolts of parenting going on as much, and so you can really engage with them, and see the world through their eyes, because they’re always seein’ things that I wouldn’t have recognized-

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: … I wouldn’t have noticed. I like-

Jim: Yeah-

Shellie: … that.

Jim: … no that’s good. I think, you know, I’ve said this before, but it’s a funny line, that grandparents and grandkids have a common enemy-

Shellie: (laughs)

Jim: … (laughs) the adult children.

John: (laughs)

Shellie: The adult people.

Jim: Yeah.

Chrys: There you go.

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: Yeah, my adult people come back to my house when they, the gr- grands are there, and they’re comin’ to pick ’em up, and the grands will go, “Oh-”

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: … and they’re, like, you know, wanna go the other way-

Jim: Yeah

Shellie: … and the parents are thinkin’, “Well thank you, I’m glad you-

Jim: ‘Cause everything has-

John: (laughs)

Shellie: … missed me.”

Jim: … everything’s been fun-

Shellie: Yeah.

Jim: … and exciting. That might be a good place to ask that question, because-

Shellie: Yes.

Jim: … that does create some tension with your adult children, right, and your-

Shellie: Yeah.

Jim: … daughter-in-law or your son-in-law, you know. They come to get the kids and they’re kickin’ and screamin’, got their heels dug in, they don’t want to leave grandma and grandpa’s house because it’s been so much fun.

Shellie: Yeah- yeah.

Jim: And then of course you get the phone call, you know, “Grandma, grandpa, um, can you guys help us and-

Shellie: Yeah.

Jim: … not be so fun.”

Shellie: (laughs)

Chrys: (laughs)

Jim: Don’t give ’em so much sugar.

Shellie: You know, I think … right.

Chrys: Yeah.

John: (laughs)

Shellie: I think-

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: … as long as you’re aware of where the parents’ lines are, and Chrys and I-

Chrys: Um-

Shellie: … talk about this-

Chrys: … yeah.

Shellie: … a lot. Like, if the parents are, they don’t, uh, give their kids a lot of sugar, then you don’t either. I think that’s, kind of-

Jim: So abide by the rules-

Shellie: … really-

Chrys: Yeah.

Shellie: You abide by their rules as much as you can. And of course as grandparents, you know, you’re gonna fudge them some-

Jim: Huh?

Shellie: … and enjoy the grands a little-

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: … but I really do try to respect. If they say nap time, they need a nap, then you put ’em down for a nap. If you say, um, sugar is a no- no, then don’t. And that- that helps with that problem with the parents.

Jim: That shows-

Chrys: Yeah.

Jim: … mutual respect.

Chrys: Now just-

Shellie: Yeah.

Chrys: … uh, the fact that they dig in and want to stay with you, oh no, you’re just happy about that.

Jim: Oh yeah.

Shellie: Yeah.

Chrys: You’re just, like, “Sorry buddy, but-

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Chrys: … your kid loves me.”

Jim: Uh, yeah, right- (laughs)

Chrys: I know, (laughs) uh-huh.

Jim: … more than you now.

Chrys: So that, yeah- yeah.

John: (laughs)

Shellie: This is my time, yeah- yeah.

Chrys: Yeah, I know, I’m … Okay, here, you can take him screa-, kicking and screaming if you really-

Jim: Right-

Chrys: … want to.

Jim: … right. No, I know, I’ve- I’ve talked to enough people.

Shellie: It’s, kind of, that, like, stop, don’t stop-

Chrys: Yeah-

Shellie: … thing-

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: … with the grandchild-

Chrys: … yeah.

Shellie: … where you’re wantin’ ’em to stop cryin’ for the parent, but you really like it.

Jim: Oh yeah-

John: (laughs)

Jim: … right.

Shellie: Yeah.

Chrys: Yes, we really-

Jim: Yeah- yeah.

Chrys: … really are loving every minute of it-

Shellie: Yeah.

Chrys: … yes-

Jim: Yeah-

Chrys: … for sure.

Jim: … Chrys, let me ask you, uh, your granddaughter, uh, Sadie Robertson-

Chrys: Yes.

Jim: … um, that’s Willie and Korie, Korie’s your daughter-

Chrys: Mm-hmm (affirmative)- mm-hmm.

Jim: … so Sadie’s your granddaughter, and she’s a delightful young lady.

John: She is.

Jim: I mean-

Chrys: She is, yes.

Jim: … every- every, uh, father who has a son about her age, that’s the kind of daughter you hope your son will meet, you know.

Chrys: Right.

Jim: Just very bright-

Chrys: Uh, I had many- many-

Jim: … committed to the Lord.

Chrys: … direct messages from people when Sadie was, uh, before she was married-

Shellie: Before she was married.

Chrys:  “Uh, do you … I really would love for my-

Jim: (laughs)

Chrys: … son to meet Sadie.

Jim: Yes.

Chrys: Do you think she’ll be in such and-

Jim: Yeah.

Chrys: … such town,” (laughs) you know, like-

Jim: Oh I know.

Chrys: … hi, yeah.

Shellie: I’ve had people wantin’ me to set, uh, Sadie up.

Chrys: Set Sadie up.

Shellie: And I was, like, “I’m not even in that. No I’m not-

Chrys: Yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: … [inaudible]”

Jim: You- you mentioned in the book, you traveled to a speaking engagement with her and a young woman approached you and she said something about being a grandparent that really grabbed your heart. What did she pray over you or say to you that got your attention?

Chrys: She did, she did. For the first, probably, three years of Duck Dynasty when Sadie, or three or four years when Sadie was asked to speak so much, d-, s-, developing her speaking skills, I was the natural one to travel with her. Korie was busy filming and doing different things. So I was with Sadie at this speaking engagement and this young lady came up to me and said that she had been thinking and praying about me and which, kind of, shocked me. I’m just on the sidelines watching-

Jim: Right.

Chrys: … my granddaughter shine and do her thing. And, um, this, uh, young lady had said that she had been praying, and she just wanted me to know that what has been coming to her is that- that my ceiling, our ceiling as grandparents will be the floor for our grandchildren to-

Shellie: Right, yeah.

Chrys: … bloom, and blossom, and go, and move, and do, and all that. And I mean that just hit me.

Shellie: Yeah, uh-huh.

Chrys: I love that analogy so much. And later I say in the book, I took, we took our whole family to, um, Israel for Christmas three years ago, and we got to see this in action. We got to look down this, where they’ve excavated, I don’t, I never say that word right-

Jim: Never.

Chrys: … this whole area and you can literally see three civilizations on top of each other.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Chrys: And I thought, looking at that, “Wow that is, you know, Johnny and I, and Korie and Willie, and Sadie, and now Christian. And now they have Honey, who is now, of course, above us. My mom and dad, and Phil and Kay, and our- our generation, but my mom and dad, and, you know, five generations. And each generation is building on the next and leaving that, our ceiling, we’re leaving that floor for them to start-

Jim: Yeah.

Chrys: … like they’re going to do-

Jim: That’s a beautiful picture-

Chrys: … and then move on up. It’s just-

Jim: … yeah.

Chrys: Really, that just touched me so much, um-

Jim: And when you look-

Chrys: … and it still does.

Jim: Yeah, and when you look at that, um, I guess using that analogy of, you know, building upon your grandparents floor, ceiling-

Chrys: Ceiling, mm-hmm-

Jim: … as your floor-

Chrys: … mm-hmm.

Jim: … which is a great way to look at things.

John: Yeah.

Jim: What are those, as a grandparent, what are those building materials that you’re giving your grandchild to build on? What are the timbers that they’re gonna be using? What are those things you’re investing in as a grandparent?

Chrys: Right, that is the, that’s the thing that you … That’s what we think about-

Shellie: Mm-hmm.

Chrys: … so often, what we want to pour into other grandparents t-, for them to think about that, think about those things. What are those things?

Chrys: My husband and I started something when ours were little, and we may have talked about this in the last show. And, um, every time we would be on vacation we’d make the kids sit down and we added to this principles for living, our Howard legacy principles for living. We have 67 of ’em now that we … and those are the things we wanted to build into our children. And so, of course, now those are the things that we wanted to build into our grandchildren now our great-grandchildren. And so how you go about those things may be a little bit different when you’re the par-, the grandparent instead of the parent. You don’t have all the responsibility all the time.

Jim: Right.

Chrys: You do get to do a little more things, things don’t have to be quite as serious on some things. But still there’s a seriousness to it because God has gifted us with this role as grandparents-

Shellie: So Chrys and I-

Chrys: … and legacy living.

Shellie: … right.

Shellie: And we talk a lot about the intentionality, that’s really big, and I think it speaks into what you’re askin’. If you’re intentional as a grandparent of what it is that you’re wanting to pass on, there are opportunities out durin’ the day while you’re with them to redirect their thinking toward what the Word says, what God’s Word says about this. And it can be a natural way of including the principles that you’re wanting to pass onto them in the conversation-

Jim: Hm.

Shellie: … so that they know what’s important to you. And you don’t have to preach all day. It’s just, um, grandma really loves Jesus, you know?

Jim: Right, absolutely.

Shellie: And this is who she listens to and this is who is guiding her life. And if they see that model, that life of faith before then, it’s easier for them to come to that.

Jim: Right.

Shellie: And- and you have to do that, or we want you to do that, with intentionality.

Jim: Hm.

John: And it doesn’t have to be a burden and-

Chrys: Mm-mm.

John: … uh, we’re talking today with two fun grandmothers, Chrys Howard and Shellie Rushing Tomlinson about their terrific book called Rocking It Grand. And we have that here at Focus on the Family. Uh, call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459, or online we’re at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Uh, let me ask you this. As kids get older, uh, maybe the teen years if we could frame that time and life-

Shellie: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, they can tend to pull away a bit. There’s so much pulling at them. Electronics, friends, everything like that. How- how did you see those changes happening in your grandkids and what were the, kind of, the fixes to try to keep them engaged in the family?

Shellie: Well I’ll speak to that, and then I’ll cede to Chrys because hers are a little older. But I’ll tell you what I’m doing, like, right now-

Jim: Uh-huh.

Shellie: … because mine are, kind of, transitioning and I see that happening, and then Chrys can speak to as they get older.

Shellie: So that 12, and I have a couple that are, uh, pushin’ 13. And so if they … You have no … You’re- you’re no longer the center of their world. I mean, sadly, this is what begins to happen, you know, grandma was everything when they were two, and now their world enlargens and it’s full of friends, and family, and their own interest, and so you have to reach out to them more. And so I-

Jim: So you initiate.

Shellie: You-

Chrys: Hm.

Shellie: … initiate.

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: And you do not expect them, and you don’t take offense if you’re no longer the brightest star in their universe.

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: You know it can be hard as grandparents, because that was your baby.

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: But if you realize that this is natural, and it’s good that you’re no longer the, you know, they’re not orbiting around you. And so you reach out to them and you continue. I say, in another place in the book, you talk about the things that don’t matter as much, so that the things that do you’ve already built a ground of communication.

Jim: Oh that’s- that’s a good parenting tip.

Shellie: So it’s-

Chrys: That’s right.

Shellie: Regardless-

Jim: Wow.

Shellie: … what’s goin’ on, if you instill that, that just ability to, um, have a conversation and talk to them about their life. And you might be talkin’ about a frog, or the color of the sky, and it may seem inconsequential before they reach that age, but-

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: … if you built that communication in, then they start turnin’ older and they’ll trust you to talk about the things that are really important, because you took the time to talk to them about the things that they felt were important when they were little bitty.

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: But now Chrys has the older teenagers that-

Jim: The more experienced grandparent-

Chrys: … the more experienced.

Jim: … is what I hear ya saying.

Chrys: Yes-

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: Yeah, she will-

Chrys: … and I-

Shellie: … say she older-

Chrys: Yeah.

Shellie: … more experienced then-

Jim: Did I say that the right way?

Chrys: Yes.

John: Yeah, you did, very sensitively.

Shellie: She tries to not use that word older, but I see-

Chrys: No, I say mature-

Shellie: … she just did.

Jim: (laughs)

Chrys: … mature.

Shellie: I always say she’s, uh … I-

John: I’m more ma-, more- more-

Jim: Wiser-

John: … experienced.

Jim: … wiser.

Chrys: I am, I am-

John: You are more experienced.

Shellie: More experienced, that’s very good.

Chrys: … a little more experienced. And I remember, it’s funny, Shellie might not even remember, I was on her radio show probably five years ago and she asked me how I dealt with teenage grands, ’cause her were really little at that-

Jim: Yeah.

Chrys: … time and I had the teenage grands and-

Shellie: I do remember this.

Chrys: Uh, and, uh, really Shellie is saying it right, you’ve built, you’ve laid that foundation when they were young. And just like a parent does, you-

Shellie: Mm-hmm.

Chrys: … lay that foundation so that when they reach those teen years, those natural years, that they’re going to gravitate away from you. And my joke in my family is when my kids, my grands get their license, I get traded in for a car.

Jim: (laughs)

Chrys: And so that’s, like, I’m the one driving them around, and going all the, and all of a sudden, I’m not anymore. And, uh, my-

Jim: Wow.

Chrys: … 17-year-old had an eye appointment this week where he had to have his eyes dilated.

Shellie: Yeah- yeah-

Chrys: So-

Shellie: … I get to drive again.

Chrys: Oh, I picked him up and I said, “Just like old times buddy.”

Shellie: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs)

Chrys: He got in the car with me. And so, after did that we went to Chick-fil-A, you know.

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Chrys: So, it’s- it’s just staying connected to them all the way through so that when they reach their teen years they still want to be with you, they still w- … I mean you’re definitely way down the line of-

Shellie: Mm-hmm.

Chrys: … the girlfriend, boyfriends, friends at school and all that, kind of, stuff, but you’re still in the picture because you’ve built this relationship with ’em. And they … And for me and Shellie both, both of us like to be involved even on other levels. Like we both play tennis with our grandkids, we, uh, um, boat, ski, do those things. So, any of those kinds of things that you-

Jim: Being active-

Chrys: … can find.

Jim: … yeah.

Shellie: Yeah.

Chrys: Be active, things that even, um, you know, my grandkids we all have tennis tournaments, you know-

Jim: Right.

Chrys: … the whole family-

Shellie: I told a story-

Chrys: … yeah.

Shellie: … in the book, and I think it’s so good for this part of this conversation, that I developed this little game, it’s a silly little game with one of my grandchildren when she was ridin’ in the back seat. And she was that age where they ask questions constantly, that, um, have no importance whatsoever. You know, they ask-

Jim: Why grandma-

Shellie: … why-

Jim: … why grandma?

Shellie: … why- why-

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: … why- why is the grass green? I had an epiphany one day and I realized that Emerson didn’t really care why the grass was green, what she wanted-

Jim: Ah-

Shellie: … was the conversation.

Jim: … oh man.

Shellie: That’s what was coming. And when I realized that this game developed accidentally where she would say, “Why is the grass green?” And I would answer in a nonsensical way, I’d say, “Because the elephants are gray.”

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: And it took her a little while-

John: (laughs)

Shellie: … to- to catch it.

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: And she would go-

Jim: Okay.

Shellie: … but Caggie, that’s my grandmother’s name, yeah, “Caggie, why are elephants gray?” And I would say, “Because the sky has clouds.” And she’d go, “Oh, why does the sky have clouds?” You know-

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: … I’d say, “Because the trees are straight out of the ground.”

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: And we could talk for hours. And her parents would listen, and they were, like, “That- that is the craziest thing,” but Emerson loved it. And so-

Jim: Sh-

Shellie: … what she-

Jim: … yeah.

Shellie: … was loving the conversation.

Jim: She was connecting.

John: Yeah.

Chrys: Yeah.

Shellie: She was wanting to have a conversation with me.

Jim: Yeah, that’s so fun.

Shellie: Yeah.

Jim: You know, uh, um, tough times are part of life. I mean we are on the mountaintop sometimes and sometimes we’re in the valleys. And in the book, you mention that. Uh, um, what are some ways we can teach our grandkids, not being their parents, obviously, but from the grandparent perspective, to build resiliency, you know, to toughen up so when those big blows come in life you can manage them, whether they’re 8 or 18, or 28, whatever it’s going to be. So, I think the specific question is, how do grandparents play a role in toughening up the kids?

Chrys: I think a grandparent’s role is different. You’re not always privy to everything that’s going on in their life because you’re the grandparent, you’re not living in the home with them, you’re not seeing all of it.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Chrys: And so, for a grandparent, it, you, I- I think you always have to be mindful of that and keep the conversation. Like, I, uh, to ask mine, I check on them. I say, “How is school going. No, how’s school really going, or friends in your life.”

Shellie: Mm-hmm.

Chrys: You know, tr-, that kind of thing. And then just being super encouraging, uh, i- in the best way. I think, I say another thing about grandparents, that we’re the best cheerleaders, because sometimes-

Jim: Yeah.

Chrys: … it’s up to mom and dad to, kind of, say the tougher things and up to grandparents to cheer them on. Even when mom and dad have had to say you know what, that was a tough game you didn’t actually play your best. Grandma can come in and give the biggest hug and here’s a bag of Cheetos and some water. You did great buddy, I love you. So, it does change a little bit.  I mean, we want, we talk this all the time, and we do shows on building resilient children. We think we have a responsibility even with the ga- grandkids too to help them see that.

Shellie: The way that I have found to build that type of resilience is to really give my grandchildren a bigger picture, because many times they look at us and- and grandma looks like she didn’t ever have these problems and their-

Chrys: Mm-hmm.

Shellie: … parents didn’t have these problems. But if they are involved in somethin’ that I can say to Grant, you know, I remember when your Uncle Phillip was this age, and he was playin’ ball. And sometimes he would have a game like this whenever-, uh, nothing went right. And if you can liken that to the- the adults around them that they c-, they have not considered this yet, you know-

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: … and this is how Uncle Philip would do it. He would just decide … So, you’re not exactly now telling them what to do, but you’re modeling for them when Aunt Jessica had this problem, or when your mom had this problem she did this, or we-

Jim: Right, they’re not alone.

Shellie: … did this.

Chrys: Right.

John: Right.

Chrys: And they begin to see how they weathered the storm and that helps them build resilience, mm-hmm.

Jim: Um, uh, l- let’s move to probably the most important aspect, uh, and heart thing for a grandparent and really those of faith, those that have a Christian-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … faith.

Chrys: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Because that’s what-

Chrys: Oh, everything-

Jim: … it’s all about, it’s everything.

Chrys: … it’s everything.

Shellie: That’s right.

Jim: So how do we help our grandchildren develop a faith in Christ that provides eternal life? I mean, that’s what we believe, that we embrace Jesus, and that’s eternal life and spending eternity with him in heaven. That’s awesome. It is the whole ball of wax.

Shellie: For me, that is an ongoing dialogue, is the, uh, bringing Jesus into the conversation. It’s a- a language of faith that I speak with my grandchildren. We don’t … I have somethin’ durin’ the summer that I call Gran Camp, where I have all of them-

Jim: (laughs) That’s good.

Shellie: … come to my house and we just act crazy. It’s, like, very much what happens at Caggie’s Camp, stays at Caggie’s Camp, thing. You know-

Jim: (laughs)

Shellie: … we just really-

John: (laughs) And these are eight-

Shellie: … we play hard.

John: … and nine-year-olds.

Jim: Yeah. (laughs)

Shellie: Yeah, we- we play hard, but we incorporate faith. I- I have it all woven all through the day. And we might have a devotional that mornin’, guys, that’s really short but, uh, age appropriate, 10 minutes or somethin’, very short, and we’ll talk about Jesus being the light of the world. But then I’m going to bring that out through the day. I’ll bring the questions to them and keep the conversation goin’ about who Jesus is in different things that we’re doin’.

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: I think what, where we miss this, is when we only take our children to church-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Shellie: … and they do not see Jesus being a part of our life Monday through Saturday-

Jim: Huh.

Shellie: … and then we take ’em to church again.

Jim: Right.

Shellie: We do them a great disservice because now they’re lookin’ and they’re sayin’, “Well it doesn’t appear to be a really important part of your life.”

Chrys: Hm.

Shellie: I want them to have a different message. I want them to see that, you know, Caggie lives and breathes Jesus-

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: … there’s somethin’ here.

Jim: We’re right near the end, but I do want to cover a couple things. Uh, one, you compare grandparents to superheroes, I like that.

Shellie: Oh, that’s good.

Chrys: Yes.

Jim: So, a, I guess I’d like to know what superhero you-

Chrys: Well-

Jim: … identify with and then-

Chrys: … this was-

Shellie: (laughs)

Jim: … b, how does it work?

Chrys: Okay, this is just … One day they had superhero day at school. And my granddaughter, Sadie, that we’ve already talked about actually went as me.

Jim: (laughs)

Chrys: That was her-

Jim: That’s great.

Chrys: And it was so … I just was so amazed at that and just thought it was so precious. And then I got to thinking about the traits of a- a superhero and I … For me, I think if I were to be one, I would have to say Wonder Woman, because that’s what I would want to be, and I want to do and accomplish so many things in life. And, uh, we were talkin’ about this yesterday how Sadie’s so much like me and that we just always have so many different things going- going in life. And I think Sadie saw that, as a, this is, she was in the sixth grade, as a sixth grader. And so, then I started to, kind of, developing that theme for this book about what are the things that grandparents do-

Jim: Hm.

Chrys: … that are like a superhero. And so, uh, you know, if you get the book, you’ll, you could read all those things, but, you know, one of them is just, I think, super heroes are always out to do good-

Jim: Yes.

Chrys: … and that’s what grandparents do. I mean that is our focus in life is doing good. We’ve- we’ve lived it all, you know, we’ve done a lot of things, and now what’s left for us to do is to leave the good-

Jim: Yeah.

Chrys: … leave that legacy of good with our, with our family.

Jim: Yeah. And you both have talked about that building resiliency into the grandkids and, you know, uh, observing the parents, your adult children’s wishes when it comes to what they eat- (laughs)

Chrys: Mm-hmm, yeah.

Jim: … and, uh, how excited they get.

Jim: Uh- uh, let me speak to that community of grandparents where they’re not as connected. And right at the end here, uh, you know, again, I want to remind everybody, we have caring Christian counselors, you can call us to get more information. But I know people are listening where it’s gone wrong. They’re not connected appropriately with their adult children perhaps, therefore they don’t have access to the grandkids or … You know, there’s just strife in the family, and they’re hearing this going, “I wish I had that-

Shellie: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … playful spirit.”

Chrys: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Chrys, uh, you know-

Chrys: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … what you just described, and having fun at Grannie Camp and-

Chrys: Yeah.

Jim: … but, uh, my kids and I are somewhat estranged for whatever-

Chrys: Yeah.

Jim: … reason and I don’t have that kind of contact. What advice do you give that grandparent? How do they begin to mend that bridge so they can experience one of the greatest blessings-?

Shellie: Oh yeah.

Jim: … in life?

Shellie: Um, I would just so encourage you. I would love to speak directly to that grandparent that’s listening. Um, I’m almost emotional just speaking to you-

Jim: Hm.

Shellie: … because I- I feel your heart, and I know that it can be hard if you’re not connected. But I want to promise you that the Lord wants that more than you do. He wants you to be connected-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Shellie: … with your family, and with your kids, and with your grandkids. And I would just so encourage you to partner with him, to just go to him in prayer and begin to ask him for a different relationship with your kids and with-

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: … your grandkids. And, you know, it- it’s not just somethin’, a cliché or somethin’ to say, but God does answer prayer and he is listening. And so, the very first thing, I would say, is pray-

Jim: Hm.

Shellie: … pray about it. And then on up to what you have done on your own, your mess, the part of the-

Jim: That’s exactly right.

Shellie: … uh, relationship that’s your mess-

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: … own it, because your kids need to hear that.

Jim: That’s humility.

Shellie: And that’s the humility that the Lord can bless. And then just … Uh, so many times we don’t say vocally what we want but vocalize that with your kids. You know, I’ve done … This is where I own what’s gone wrong, but I want somethin’ different for your kids and I want to be in their life. And I think those two things, that humility, and honesty, and partnerin’, oh I can’t count, three things, and partnering with Jesus, uh, in their lives-

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: … I think that’s where you begin.

John: Aw.

Jim: That’s so good.

Chrys: That’s really it. I, mean, Shellie, you did such a great job summarizing that and my heart goes out to, uh, grandparents in that situation as well. And I … But the- the only, uh, thing I guess would say it, maybe, just in a different way is, uh- uh, do what you can do. The Bible tells us to do what we can do, uh, as much as it depends on us.

Shellie: Mm-hmm.

Chrys: So, make sure you’re doing what it depends on you to do to make the situation better. And-

Jim: Yeah.

Shellie: Yes.

Chrys: … sometimes as we get older, and we get a little more stubborn-

Jim: (laughs)

Chrys: … in our-

Shellie: Mm-hmm.

Chrys: … old age and set in our ways, and sometimes we need to just have a little talk with ourselves and say, “No, wait a minute, I need to back up and do what I can do to make this situation better.” And, um, I would think that the grandchildren out there who are wanting you to be a part of their life want you to do that-

Jim: Yeah.

Chrys: … you know.

John: Yeah.

Jim: And it’s a, it’s a challenge, but it’s an amazing-

Chrys: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … admonition you’re giving and-

Shellie: Yeah.

Jim: … that is to set your-

Chrys: And so many times the grandchildren are the ones that mend a relationship-

Jim: Right.

Chrys: … with a child and-

Shellie: They can be-

Chrys: … you know that’s-

Jim: But you have to set your-

Chrys: So-

Jim: … grievances aside and-

Chrys: That’s right.

Jim: … look at the bigger picture, and say the grandkids are the big picture-

Chrys: Right, that’s right.

Jim: … and their relationship with Christ is the big-

Chrys: Right.

Jim: … picture and how can I play into that?

Chrys: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So that’s really good.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Chrys and Shellie, I mean this has been fantastic. Thank you for such a strong reminder of the influence of grandparents in the lives of those grandkids and great-grandkids Chrys-

Chrys: Yes.

Jim: … and I so appreciate it. Uh, thank you for being with us today.

Shellie: Thank you.

Chrys: Thank you for havin’ us.

Shellie: Enjoyed bein’ here.

Jim: Yeah. Let me turn to the listener as well and just remind you that Focus on the Family, like I said a moment ago, is here for you. Um, we have counselors who can help and talk with you. We have resources-… like, uh, Chrys and Shellie’s great book, and we want to get that into your hands. And I say this often, John, but, uh, you know, partner with us in ministry if you can become a monthly partner or a one-time gift. We’ll send you a copy of the book, uh, as our way of saying thank you. And if you can’t afford it, uh, we are a Christian organization. We want you to have the content. We’ll give it to you, and we’ll trust others will take care of the cost of that. So just get in touch with us and let us know that this will meet a need in your life and, uh, that is what we’re tryin’ to do here at Focus.

John: Yeah, we’re a phone call away. And, Jim, I remember not too long ago we had somebody call and make a donation. They said, “I don’t need that book, but here’s a $100 for at least three or four people to be able to get the book.”

Jim: That’s great.

John: And they- they-

Shellie: That’s great.

John: … paid it forward. Uh, we’re asking you to do that if you can. Um, and if you’re in a spot, as Jim said, where you can’t afford to donate to the ministry, we understand, uh, just reach out to us, we’re a phone call away. As I said, 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.  And be sure to join us next time as we hear from Deborah Pegues offering hope and encouragement for those who feel stressed out.

Preview:

Deborah Pegues: The bible says, “be anxious for nothing” and I’m thinking, what is anxiety? Anticipating a negative outcome. I have to remember that anxiety is anticipating a negative outcome.

End of Preview

Today's Guests

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Rocking It Grand: 18 Ways to Be a Game-Changing Grandma

Receive Chrys Howard and Shellie Rushing Tomlinson's book Rocking It Grand for your donation of any amount!

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