With the upcoming feast on July 26 of St Joachim and Anne (grandparents of Jesus), it is a time to consider the call of grandparents to actively participate in the sharing of the faith with their grandchildren.
“Children are not a distraction from the most important work, they are the most important work.”-C. S. Lewis (Best Quotes)
When my kids began to get married and made me a grandmother, I asked myself what my role was going to be in the life of my grandchildren. As the grandchildren began to arrive, they began to realize that my main role was to love them, share my faith with them, tell stories, passing along the family and cultural traditions as well as going out on dates and adventures. And yes, take care of them on occasions.
The reality is that as you begin to interact with the grandchildren you begin to play a unique and significant role in their lives. You help the children begin to feel secure with someone other than mom and dad. They realize there is something bigger than themselves, a family, and they belong to it. As they grow older, you would hope that they can see that their grandparents have accumulated wisdom, are good listeners and can help them make good choices. I find it especially important to cultivate the relationship with your adult children and their spouses to open the door to your grandchildren and enrich the family dynamics.
Grandparenting is a unique role, a God-given role. Throughout the Bible, you can find passages that emphasize the importance of grandparents. For example, Deuteronomy 4:9 says: “God’s children are instructed to teach at least two generations the stories of our faith and the greatness of our God”
I encourage you to read in entirety Psalm 71 which I consider a psalm for those in the generative stage. But let us focus intently on these verses in particular:
God, you have taught me from my youth; to this day I proclaim your wondrous deeds. Psalm 71: 17
Now that I am old and gray, do not forsake me, God, that I may proclaim your might to all generations yet to come Psalm 71: 18
Yes, my tongue shall recount your justice day by day. For those who sought my ruin have been shamed and disgraced. Psalm 71: 24
We have a responsibility of making sure that faith gets passed from generation to generation. Perhaps you are in that post-conciliar generation who got lost for a while and you did not pass on the faith to your children. Hopefully, with age and maturity, you have come to know your faith better. Grandparenting gives you a chance to share with grandchildren and through them also reach your children. You can become the spiritual leader in your family. Grandchildren frequently will listen to their grandparents due to the nature of the relationship even when they will not listen to anyone else. Grandparents are only second to parents in their potential to influence their grandkids spiritually, your words have great power.
Deuteronomy 4:9 says, “Watch Yourselves”. We are models of a life of goodness. Instead of becoming more cynical and crankier, hopefully, we have become more gracious and godlier.
Let me recommend you meditate also on Psalm 78:1-7
Attend, my people, to my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable, unfold the puzzling events of the past. What we have heard and know; things our ancestors have recounted to us. We do not keep them from our children; we recount them to the next generation, The praiseworthy deeds of the LORD and his strength, the wonders that he performed. God made a decree in Jacob, established a law in Israel: Which he commanded our ancestors, they were to teach their children; That the next generation might come to know, children yet to be born. In turn, they were to recount them to their children, that they too might put their confidence in God, And not forget God’s deeds, but keep his commandments.
It seems to be a mandate of God that those who have been given the gift of old age focus on the time they get with their grandchildren. Let us plan well our time with them seeking to impact their lives with godly values. Children can teach us how to do it. Get involved in their activities. Make it intentional to celebrate the liturgical year by decorating your house for the seasons and providing for their art and crafts ideas that reinforce what you are trying to teach them. Celebrate the great heroes of our faith by sharing their stories. Today the Internet can be used to shorten distances, especially when we live far away. There is so much of our Faith that is age-appropriate. I frequently send my daughters anything I find that can enrich the wonderful work they are already doing. When I visit my grandchildren, they are always eager to share what they know of their faith formation, and the books they are reading. They know Grandma is always interested in what they know of their faith.
My grandkids in particular love to play games. I recently bought a Bible game at the parish store (check it out) that we all can enjoy. They love to show off how much they know, and if they do not know the answer, they also get their points for listening to the answers. I am surprised how the younger one is most enthusiastic to get to play.
I have invited my two older grandsons to take them on an outing to the Bible Museum in Dallas. One of them is so anxious he is constantly asking when we are going. I better stop this page and check my calendar to see what day, we can go.
There are many wonderful resources on the internet to help grandparents share the faith with their grandchildren. Go to https://www.focusonthefamily.com/grandparenting as they have some good things. You can also go to https://legacycoalition.com for more inspiration.
Above all, do not forget to pray for each one of your grandchildren. You can pray for their wellbeing, for health when they are sick. For their special intentions. You will see how they call you when they need your prayers. You also need to pray for their protection against the evils of this world especially for strength and wisdom to persevere in the spiritual and moral life. Pray that they may be able to recognize the temptations of the enemy who will work overtime to tempt, lie, and discourage them.
Pray for their parents and support all their efforts to bring up their children in the faith. If they are not involved in the children’s faith development, offer to help as much as they allow you; and if possible, remind them of this grave responsibility.
Be a great grandparent. May this be your legacy.
Best quotes retrieved from https://bestquotes.name/pin/160680/
Author: Alicia I Perez Nuno, Faith Formation Consultant