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Inside: Discipleship training as a grandparent. Find out how you can influence the next generation for the Kingdom of God. If you want to help raise godly grandkids, than it’s very important that you know what your role as a grandparent is.
What is discipleship? Find out ways you can help disciple your grandkids.
This post in the Discipleship Corner is EXTRA special to me since it’s written by my mom, Michele from The Cancer Calamity. She writes about the unique responsibility of discipleship training as a grandparent and the role they have in helping to disciple their grandkids. I am blessed with not one, but TWO sets of grandparents who love the Lord and have a desire to teach my kids spiritually. And my grandma is also very active in helping disciple my kids for Christ! If you haven’t read the first post in The Discipleship Corner, take a minute and read, ‘Seven Keys to Effective Family Discipleship.’ I hope to see you back here for more of the Discipleship Corner! ~ Amber
The Role of Grandparents in Family Discipleship
Discipleship Training as a Grandparent
As grandparents It’s our job to spoil our grandkids, right?
Sure we get to do that from time to time, but really, what does that look like?
Are we to use the time we have with them to undermine what their parents are teaching them?
Or should we look at this as an opportunity to reinforce their parents hard work?
We clearly have a choice, but remember that every action produces an equal and opposite RE-action.
As grandparents, we have a very unique opportunity to share our faith with our grandchildren. God calls us to leave a legacy. Proverbs 13:22 (ESV) says
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
So, how do we as grandparents play a part in the discipleship training of our grandkids?
Here are my thoughts as a grandma to thirteen wonderful grandkids!
Grandchildren are a Gift
Being a grandma is the BEST thing since sliced bread! I just love it!
I can remember when thinking about being a grandma made me cringe a bit.
Picture an old, grey-haired lady in a dress, wearing an apron in a straight back rocking chair, smiling sweetly while waiting for the cookies to finish baking in the oven.
That was my picture of being a Grandma.
I’m not even a little bit like that lady! In fact it makes me chuckle to think about it now.
When I was thinking about being a grandma (and fearing the certain stereotypical fate that would befall me) I was knee deep in raising my own children.
So how on earth could I have imagined such a picture? I’m really not sure, but boy, was I wrong!
What I have learned is that grandchildren are such a gift!
They are precious, innocent, genuine, honest, pure. I could go on and on. I just love them and am so grateful to God for gifting me with them.
What is Your Role as a Grandparent?
But what role do grandparents play in family discipleship?
How do I, as a grandma help disciple my grandkids?
In my opinion, you need to start preparing yourself long before you become a grandparent.
The first time I became a grandma, I was forty one years old!
No one offered me a course in ‘Grandma-101’ when my first grandchild was born, so I had to figure it out.
My husband and I were thrilled to be grandparents, but what was our role?
Did we even have a role?
Related: How to Make Faith a Priority Through Family Worship
Related: Effective Family Discipleship
After all, Logan didn’t belong to us, he belonged to Amber and Ben.
Well, like most things in life, I had to learn as I went along. I’m sure I made plenty of mistakes along the way.
It really all started with teaching our own children Scripture.
We emphasized Scripture memory and loving God. We raised them to know God and to trust Him. Which helped them to raise godly kids.
Then there’s the issue of my own faith.
Having a personal relationship with God was the key. Actually, this is what I recommend for other grandparents who are interested in discipling their grandkids too.
If you didn’t start out right, it’s never too late to begin. Perhaps you weren’t even a believer when your kids were growing up.
It was so awesome to watch my grandson as he stepped out in faith as he was baptized (by his daddy!)
Part of your responsibility is to love your grandkids and to respect their parent’s wishes.
Just remember that these are not your kids to raise, and by respecting their parents’ wishes, you’ll have a much better experience overall.
Practical Ways to Put it All Into Practice
Here are some practical things that my husband and I have done to disciple our grandkids and perhaps you’ll find them to be helpful too:
- Pray with them. When you see something is bothering your grandchild – even if they’re just little – you can take the opportunity to bring it to Jesus with them. Seize these opportunities when they’re small and as they grow, they’ll know that you are someone they can trust with their cares and concerns. When a grand-puppy was sick, I prayed with Lydia who was particularly worried. Why? Because it was important to her
- When the opportunity comes to attend a Christian outing with one of them, DO IT! I remember when Logan was about fourteen, we had a Christian comedian come to our town so we took him. When Carter was seven or so, we took him to see a Christian band. These events are always followed by ice cream for sure!
- When Jack had a birthday we arranged a weekend for all of his cousins to come (since we don’t all live in the same town) and we had a great day at a local pizza place with a huge mouse who walked around shaking their hands. That’s great fellowship among the cousins and it’s a way to minister to them all.
- When little Avie had her last birthday, we got them all together again and went to a waterpark where they had tons of fun. Followed by a cake at our house. This gives us occasions to reach our grandchildren’s hearts.
- When I have the opportunity, I love to take them one on one for a shopping/lunch date. We usually spend too much money, but the memories we make are priceless and undoubtedly, we end up in some sort of deep conversation where I can talk to my grandkids about spiritual things.
- Consider hosting a cousins camp. Having all the grandkids together in one place for a good length of time will allow you to really do some good discipleship training as a grandparent.
- Above all, pray for them regularly and ask God to get ahold of their hearts when they’re little. Keep yourself approachable and non-judgemental. Those kids will very soon learn that you are someone they can come to anytime.
- There are so many more opportunities you can take if you just look for them.
Your Responsibility as a Christian
As a grandma who professes Christ as her Savior, I’m responsible for showing Him to anyone who crosses my path whenever possible, but especially to my grandkids.
It’s so important for my grandkids to see that when I make mistakes, I own up to them, ask their forgiveness when necessary and change my ways!
I need to show them the right way to behave by being a good example.
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Taking the opportunity to pray with my grandchildren is a privilege that I do not take for granted.
There are so many opportunities to do this. When their family pet is sick, someone breaks a bone, or there’s a monster under the bed. All these are opportunities to pray with your grandkids.
By making prayer a natural thing to do, you will soon find them coming to you to pray with or for them for bigger problems.
This is priceless!
While I have not personally had the privilege of leading one of these little ones to Christ, I would welcome that experience in a heartbeat!
Grand-Parenting is Not a Do-Over
As a grandparent, it’s very easy to look at those little ones and just want to give them the world!
There are times when I’ve thought I should do things for them that I didn’t or couldn’t do for my own children. I’m not sure where I got this notion, but it has become clear to me that these are not my kids and I need to remind myself of that from time to time.
Since they aren’t my kids, it is not my place to discipline them or correct them when their parents are present.
When they’re left in my care, that’s different, but I try to remind myself that their parents are following certain standards and guidelines so keeping to them is important.
This is not the time for me to parent them, but rather to be a reinforcement for what their parents are already doing to raise them.
What I can do as their grandma is show them unconditional love and encourage them when they do the right things.
I can challenge them with Scripture when appropriate and pray with them when needed.
The Blessings That Follow
Just looking into their innocent eyes and seeing those messy-faced smiles is priceless.
Those sloppy, wet kisses are great – well, sometimes!
And the hugs?
Oh the hugs!
My favorites are the big neck squeezes!
But there’s more.
When I see one of them make a conscious decision to do the right thing, I’m blessed.
Hearing one of them ask sincerely for forgiveness of a sibling is priceless.
When one of them recites Scripture from memory and understands what they just said?
Can I take credit for leading them in this way?
Not directly, because that’s not my role.
They have parents who live with them who are responsible for that. But I like to think that in some small way, I have contributed to their discipleship training as a grandparent simply by being their Grandma.
Could I please have a dozen more?
How about you? Are you a grandparent who is helping to disciple their grandkids by reinforcing what their parents are doing? How do you disciple your grandkids?
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