Today, the role of grandparents exists in an ever-changing, fast-paced, highly-competitive, busier-than-ever world. We struggle with balance as we help our children manage theirs―grandbabies, work, exercise, staying healthy, and leading our growing families. Most importantly, grandparents have the ability to listen and communicate, value our grandchildren’s thoughts, and our grandchildren to Jesus.
The following three excerpts have been adapted from various chapters in the duo’s upcoming book: Rocking It Grand: 18 Ways to Be A Game-Changing Grandma.
Learn more about the depths of grandparenting in this collection of insightful, humorous, and spiritually nutritious anecdotes.
For More in this Series: Read the Next Excerpts
The role of grandparents requires careful attention to the thoughts of our grandchildren. I imagine we’ve all heard teachings on how important it is to “think about what you’re thinking about.”
My concern is that we may have learned to recognize the Enemy’s attacks against us, but we’re slow to realize how early the enemy starts launching similar darts toward our precious grandchildren. Throughout this section, my goal is to wake us up, so we can combat them on our loved ones’ behalf.
Why We Should Value Our Grandchildren’s Thoughts
It’s far too easy for patterns of thinking and faulty perceptions to become ingrained in our grandchildren’s little minds. And once they’re established, they can follow them the rest of their lives.
Buried thoughts are potent because they don’t always stay buried. They can influence decisions and become patterns of behavior. I’m reminded of a wise observation that’s been attributed to far too many brilliant people over the years to be able to name the author with any certainty:
“Watch your thoughts, they become words.
When you watch your words, they become actions.
After you watch your actions, they become habits.
When you watch your habits, they become character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
The wisdom of those words needs to be applied long before our grandkids are old enough to process it for themselves. This is where game-changing grandparents come in.
Valuing Our Grandchildren’s Thoughts Through Our Role as Grandparents
We can play a valuable role in our grandchildren’s mental development. Also, we can help them learn to think healthy thoughts that will lead to healthy lives. We can teach them how to recognize what they’re thinking about, resist the damaging cycles, and turn destructive thoughts in a more positive direction.
No one decides to think. It’s automatic. But learning to think well is a skill that must be acquired. We must learn how to take control of our thinking, and we can.
This means our grandchildren don’t have to grow up at the mercy of what’s going on between their ears. They don’t have to be subject to a vicious cycle of thinking that limits their potential.
But if we don’t teach them how to break cycles, we leave them vulnerable to the wrong thoughts. Our privilege is to poke a loving stick in that wheel by teaching them how to invite Jesus into their thoughts to heal and teach, comfort and correct.
Valuing Our Grandchildren’s Thoughts: Tackle with God’s Truth
One of the most powerful strategies we can use in these situations is to look for the lie in what we hear our grandchildren say. Then, we can tackle it with God’s truth.
Helping a Grandchild Who Doubts Their Talents and Skills
For instance, the child who is bemoaning his lack of math skills is saying that he can’t improve. He thinks he is destined to be a poor math student, but that is far from the truth. In our role as grandparents, we can open the Bible and show him what God’s Word says about learning and knowledge.
Proverbs 18:15 says, “An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge”. Using this verse we can help our math-weary student replace the idea that he can’t improve with the truth that using his ears is the key to learning! The student who listens closer, learns more. We can brainstorm with our student and find ways to hone those math skills.
Some ideas might be doing puzzles and playing games together that require basic math skills. It could be using simple math in daily activities the two of you enjoy, including baking those cookies together, and seeing how that cup of flour is made up of two halves.
Everything that’s worthwhile demands work. That lesson in perseverance is a win all by itself, and one that will benefit your grandchildren in countless ways for the rest of their lives.
Helping a Grandchild with Low Self-Confidence
Let’s take our second example and see how we can apply the truth of God’s Word to the child who claims she can’t make friends.
Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. Those words can open a great discussion with our grandchildren about their growing social interactions. We can do this by reminding them that they must be a friend to have a friend.
Then, we could unpack what it means to be a friend. We can help them understand that one of the first ways they can change situations is by changing how they’re thinking about them. You can teach your grandchildren to look away from their own needs and instead look for ways to help others.
Through your role as a grandparent, you can also underscore that truth by reminding your grandchildren that other kids might be feeling just as lonely as they are. Can they try to be a friend to another child who is sitting alone at recess or lunch? They’ll have a better experience in school, and in every other area of their lives, if they begin looking for someone to include instead of waiting to be included.
Teaching Our Grandchildren to Find Their Security in Jesus
And let’s not forget the all-important second half of that verse. “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. Jesus is the friend who sticks closer than a brother!
Using our role as a grandparent, let’s teach them that Jesus is always near, and He is the best friend of all. Hopefully, you and I have learned how our thoughts can affect us for good or for bad. Let’s use our experiences and teach our grandchildren to invite Jesus, their best friend, into their thoughts early and often.
Put this in language they can understand by asking them to try talking to Jesus when they’re thinking about something that makes them sad, or mad, or glad. Encourage them to tell Jesus how they are feeling, and they will soon discover for themselves how near He is.
Here’s a closing truth worthy of celebration. As attentive and caring as we might be, you and I won’t always know what our grandchildren are thinking about, experiencing, or feeling. God does! If we ask, He’ll be faithful to show us how to support them and pray for them through all the seasons of their lives.