Our oldest son observed that—while his maternal grandmother stockpiled Reese’s cups in the freezer and his paternal grandmother kept KitKat bars in her special drawer— I didn’t keep any candy at home for him to enjoy. Laughingly, I replied, “When I become a grandmother, I’m going to indulge your children with both Reese’s cups AND Twix bars.” My heart danced at the thought of being a grandmother, and our son was only five.
Twenty-five years have passed, and I am now a doting grandparent. While I’ve come to realize that being a grandparent is more than Reese’s cups and Twix bars, I’ve had difficulty finding a precise definition of my role.
Our American culture is ambiguous about our role as grandparents. Many of us embrace the “candy grandparent” model, lavishing excessive materialism on future generations, while others of us abdicate our roles as grandparents in exchange for a comfortable retirement.
Sadly, the Church—in all denominations, in all fifty states—remains silent about our part. Specializing in the field of Biblical grandparenting, Pastor Josh Mulvihill offers a plausible explanation for the Church’s oversight in this important area of ministry. He suggests that generational discipleship is overlooked because the Church defines the family unit as parent and child. Until the Body of Christ redefines “family” to include the extended family, grandparents will waffle, and future generations will spiritually suffer.
Scripture is clear. We are called to pass a legacy, a spiritual inheritance, onto our grandchildren. Moses instructed the Israelites, Teach (God’s decrees and laws) to your children and their children after them (Deuteronomy 4:9). The Psalmist proclaimed “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power and the wonders he has done (Psalm 78: 1).”
In a world muddied by lies, half-truths at best, it is imperative that Christian grandparents rally. It is a time that we need to embrace multi-generational discipleship and invest in the spiritual lives of our grandchildren. In the words of Cavin Harper (Courageous Grandparenting), we need to “train grandparents for battle, so this generation will not be lost on our watch.”
I dedicate the majority of my writing to godly and intentional grandparenting. Together, we’ll journey, explore and discover how to be godly and intentional grandparents. When the trip gets messy, we’ll shower each other with grace. When the climb grows steep, we’ll gently—or not so gently—nudge each other to the next level. And should the trail become unclear, we’ll point each other in the right direction.
With our eyes fixed on the Word of God, let us journey forth.
Guest blog by Sherry Schumann, Co-Prayer Director for Christian Grandparenting Network, firstname.lastname@example.org