Friday, January 22, 2016

So, What is a Grandma's Role?

All this week I've been talking about the Legacy Coalition and encouraging your church to begin a Grandparenting Ministry. There are some important reasons why I've been doing this and one is because I am one grandma who absolutely loves her grandchildren (and mom who loves her children and daughter-in-law, too!) I know as a mom my "role" was to raise my children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" - and this parenting "job" is one my husband and I took seriously. Oh, we most certainly were not perfect parents - there are things I would do differently today, but we did the best we could with what we knew to do and our children, as adults, do love God!

Obviously as grandma I am not "mom", so what is my "job" as "grandma"? I found an excellent post on-line about "grandparents" and want to share a few points this writer, Pastor Pauley, made. You'll find the full post at this link.

"I believe grandparents are to be honored as valued family members. I believe their wisdom in living should be sought and passed on to their children and their children's children. I also believe grandparents have the responsibility to teach and model to their grandchildren how to know Jesus Christ and grow in a relationship with Him, as well as to pass along biblical principles for godly living. The Old Testament is filled with examples of grandfathers and grandmothers who excelled in their roles of grand-parenting.

Therefore, my family is committed to giving honor to grandparents by encouraging our children and grandchildren to listen to their voices of wisdom. I am committed to exhorting grandparents to pray for and become actively involved with children and grandchildren whenever it is possible. (I Timothy 5:4; Genesis 18:18-19; Proverbs 17:6; Psalm 78)

God's Word points out the mentoring role grandparents are to have on the new generations (Psalms 71, 78, 79, 128, and 145 contain a few signposts).

Being a grandparent is a blessing.
  • Psalms 128:5-6 HCSB  May the LORD bless you from Zion, so that you will see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life, and will see your children's children! Peace be with Israel.
A grandchild can restore a grandparent’s youth. 
  • Ruth 4:15 HCSB  He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. Indeed, your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.
They bring wonder. Anyone who has ever taken an unhurried walk with a curious child will see the world in a new way. Trees have leaves, climbing limbs and bark with texture. A granddaddy longlegs can climb up glass, morning dew sparkles, and bossy jays chase other birds away from the feeder. Nature is wondrous to a child, and grandchildren share their gift of wonder with you. The pace of a child’s walk slows you down, so you observe things you would ordinarily miss.
They bring love. “Grandpa, I love you.” The affection of a grandchild is different from the routine good wishes you receive from adults. It comes with sparkling eyes and a lilt in the voice. It is often spontaneous, expressed in unexpected times and places. Some of the most formal, even formidable adults go into emotional meltdown when a grandchild says, “I love you.”
They bring reflection. Grandchildren, even at a tender age, mirror bits of our selves. It is not always the most admirable aspects of our lives which are mirrored, but, alas, the mirror is honest. Grandchildren make a hopeful new beginning. Working alongside parents, you may be able to interpret the inherited strengths and weaknesses of your grandchildren in a helpful manner. Grandchildren connect you to guilt-free leisure. Grandchildren connect you to your deeper, reflective self.
They bring connections. Grandchildren strengthen your connections to the larger web of life. You meet their friends at a birthday party, and are invited to grandparents’ day at school. You have a reason to engage in brief conversations with strangers in a grocery store when grandchildren are in tow. Some grandparents travel 1,000 miles or more for a service of infant dedication.
Most important of all, you can relate in new and creative ways to your grandchildren’s parents. Today’s two-career parents, also involved in church and civic life, are very busy people. Grandparents can clean, shop and provide emotional support when a child is born. You can also provide time for a parents’ night out or even a vacation when parental batteries run low.

A godly grandparent can define a grandchild. A godly grandparent can give deep roots to a young life. Zephaniah was defined by his lineage.
  • Zephaniah 1:1 HCSB  The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah.

A grandchild should be taught to care for its parents and grandparents in their old age.
  • Ruth 4:15 HCSB  He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. Indeed, your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.
  • 1 Timothy 5:3-4 HCSB  Support widows who are genuinely widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn to practice their religion toward their own family first and to repay their parents, for this pleases God.
  • 1 Timothy 5:8 HCSB  Now if anyone does not provide for his own relatives, and especially for his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Note: The Bible supports the idea that grandparents have a definite role to play in the lives of their grandchildren. In the Old Testament, Moses tells the Israelites to remember all the things God has done for them, and to make them known to "your children and your children's children" (Deuteronomy 4:9). The verse is interpreted to mean God intends grandparents to assist in the spiritual upbringing of their grandchildren.
But the Bible also indicates grandparents should take time to simply enjoy their grandchildren as well. Proverbs 17:6 describes grandchildren as "the crown of a hoary head," suggesting it is their right to enjoy their grandchildren as a reward for their faithfulness.
These verses mean Christian parents have a duty, not only to treat their parents with respect, but also to make sure the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is a proper one in which children benefit from their elders’ wisdom. Christian parents have no business boycotting grandparents simply because those grandparents don't share their faith or because they have problems getting along. A Christian response to grandparent difficulties should be to minister grace, even if parents don't feel they can trust the grandparents alone with kids.
If the children are not taught to care for their elderly grandparents, they will not care for their elderly parents either. Care and compassion does not come naturally to us humans. It must be taught.

Having a godly grandparent is one key to establishing a godly line. Treat a godly grandparent with great respect and gratitude.
  • Ruth 4:13-17 HCSB  Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he was intimate with her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. Then the women said to Naomi, "Praise the LORD, who has not left you without a family redeemer today. May his name be famous in Israel. He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. Indeed, your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him." Naomi took the child, placed him on her lap, and took care of him. The neighbor women said, "A son has been born to Naomi," and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Note: The Messiah descended from this line.

  • 1 Timothy 5:1-2 HCSB  Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and with all propriety, the younger women as sisters.
Note: This means that talking back, rudeness, pouting when told no and belligerence must not be tolerated by any generation. If you want them to treat you respectfully, you must teach them to treat their parents respectfully.

Enjoy the grandchildren’s visits. Seeing one’s grandchildren should be considered a joy and a privilege.
  • Genesis 48:11 HCSB  Israel said to Joseph, "I never expected to see your face again, but now God has even let me see your offspring."
Enjoy seeing the grandchildren go back home. A grandparent should celebrate his progeny. Even their departure should be considered an opportunity to bless.
  • Genesis 31:27-28 HCSB  Why did you secretly flee from me, deceive me, and not tell me? I would have sent you away with joy and singing, with tambourines and lyres, but you didn't even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters. You have acted foolishly.
Note: Grandparents, parents and grandchildren have much to offer each other. Even when grandparents joke about enjoying the taillights as much as the headlights of their children’s cars, they know and feel a deeper truth. You may get tired at night when the house is filled with little people, but it is one of the most rewarding forms of fatigue you will ever know.

Give the best advice you know to the parents of your grandchildren, but make sure you are truly looking out for their good. Make sure THEY know your heart.
  • Exodus 18:14-19 HCSB  When Moses' father-in-law saw everything he was doing for them he asked, "What is this thing you're doing for the people? Why are you alone sitting as judge, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?"  Moses replied to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God. Whenever they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I make a decision between one man and another. I teach them God's statutes and laws."  "What you're doing is not good," Moses' father-in-law said to him. "You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you. You can't do it alone. Now listen to me; I will give you some advice, and God be with you. You be the one to represent the people before God and bring their cases to Him.

Do not play favorites. Jacob’s favoritism nearly got Joseph killed, destroyed his family’s relationships and caused him many years of grief. Even if you feel you are not able to change your feelings, you certainly can control your actions!
  • Genesis 37:3 HCSB  Now Israel loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph was a son born to him in his old age, and he made a robe of many colors for him.
  • Genesis 37:34-35 HCSB  Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth around his waist, and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said. "I will go down to Sheol to my son, mourning." And his father wept for him.

Be a model of faith and conviction. Jacob calmly remained firm in his convictions even when his powerful son rebuked him. Jacob told Joseph he was wrong calmly, rationally, and then went ahead and blessed him even though they’d just had an argument.
  • Genesis 48:17-20 HCSB  When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim's head, he thought it was a mistake and took his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's.  Joseph said to his father, "Not that way, my father! This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head."  But his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know! He too will become a tribe, and he too will be great; nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his offspring will become a populous nation." So he blessed them that day with these words: Israel will invoke blessings by you, saying, "May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh," putting Ephraim before Manasseh.

Do not rebuke or correct the parents in front of their child. Do not make them lose face.  Do not contradict their rules in their own house. Try not to do it in your house either. Would you have liked someone to do that to you when you were raising your kids?
  • Luke 6:31 HCSB  Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.
Note: How well the parent and grandparent interact has a great influence on whether the relationship with the grandchildren is close or distant.

Talk about God with your grandchildren. Point out His many attributes and works. Let them see how integral a part of your life He is.
  • Psalms 145:4 HCSB  One generation will declare Your works to the next and will proclaim Your mighty acts.
  • Joel 1:2-3 HCSB  Hear this, you elders; listen, all you inhabitants of the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors?  Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation.
  • Exodus 10:2 HCSB  and so that you may tell your son and grandson how severely I dealt with the Egyptians and performed miraculous signs among them, and you will know that I am the LORD.
Note: Learn to tell the wonderful old biblical histories in a new and fresh way. See them again through the young eyes of the next generation. Hearing your grandchildren’s questions about these stories and their implications will even teach you some things you may have never considered. Meanwhile, these discussions will forge a deeper, stronger bond between you. Act them out – better yet help them act them out. Create costumes and props. Rent videos which accurately portray biblical scenes. Encourage them to draw pictures of the stories or illustrate their own story books. Talk to them about the meaning of unleavened bread while you bake bread with them. Talk about the wanderings in the desert while you go on a long walk with them. There are millions of ways you can make the Bible pertinent and fascinating to young children.

Introduce your grandchildren to God and the Word. A grandparent’s faith can be a tremendous influence. Timothy’s grandmother was instrumental in teaching him the Scriptures and making him into the godly man who would be a great pastor.
  • 2 Timothy 1:5 HCSB  clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also.
  • 2 Timothy 3:14-16 HCSB  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing those from whom you learned, and that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness."

This is just an excerpt of the article, check the link above for the full article. I found things which challenged and encouraged me in this article, so I thought I'd share it with you!

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