A Grandparent's Legacy of Faith- what are you building?
A review of Grandparenting: strengthening your family and passing on your faith.
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Who or what is a grandparent? How do you see your role? If you‘re serious about your role as grandparent- if you want to impact your grandkids lives and their faith-if you want to build a rich legacy of faith for future generations, here’s the road map.
Everyone looks back in time and reflects that ‘life was so different in my day’. And, when it comes to families, and relationships and being a grandmother, it’s pretty accurate. It's true, a grandma really ‘was so different in my day’.
Life was tough, and since I only had one grandma, I can’t make too many comparisons. My grandma dressed differently, always in a dress and wore a hat when she went outside or carried an umbrella. She didn‘t drive a Honda CRV, a Camry or any car, in fact. She walked absolutely everywhere. Ordering groceries via Coles online shopping was not an option since the internet hadn't arrived and she definitely wrote only on a paper tablet not a digital one.
Grandmother lived with us so she was an integral part of our family. I learned a lot from her. She regularly told me to pull my shoulders back and stand up straight. Or maybe, it was “Dear, could you please tie back your hair?” The proper way to prepare and serve tea was, apparently, an important skill to learn.
She taught me how to care for the fledgling fallen from the nest. She showed me how to grow butter beans and rhubarb- but not to eat the leaves. She would share her favourite Bible verse for the week. And prayer was as essential as breathing for her. She shared many stories of how God had, despite overwhelming difficulties and sometimes despite her mistakes, stepped in to resolve her concerns and deepen her understanding of Him.
So.. when I became a grandmother I wanted to be a good one- someone who was always ready for a cuddle or storybook, someone whose middle name was chocolate muffins or buttery croissants, someone who could operate anything from an off-road vehicle to a computer, smartphone or iPad without any assistance, but also someone who shared faith more than cookies.
So.. just how is it done? And what else should be the trait of a great grandma? There sure isn't an online Udemy course on the topic- I know, 'cos I checked. However, strangely, there is a course for how to make a great cup of coffee- who knew? Well, this book by Dr Josh Mulvihill provides you with plenty of helpful ideas and advice.
A bit about the author- Dr Josh Milvihill
He is married with five kids of his own and has served as a pastor for nearly twenty years. He is also a founding member of the Legacy Coalition and RootedKids.com. He has written a number of books: Biblical Grandparenting, Preparing Children for Marriage, the Rooted Kids curriculum. He's also the editor of Equipping Grandparents.
Estimated reading time: Approximately 2 hours
'God never intended parents to raise children alone. Instead, God gave families the gift of grandparents to share the burdens and distribute the weight of child-rearing. Grandparents serve as a means to provide multiple influences in raising children in the Lord.'
There is plenty of content to sink your teeth into in this book. You'll find 4 parts to the consider: Cultural Messages, God's Design, Discipleship Practices and Strengthening Relationships.
While we love our new role as grandparent, our culture seeks to trivialise our influence. But throughout the book you are reminded of the importance of grandparents. God created grandparents to play a crucial role in the spiritual development of grandchildren by linking arms with parents to work toward the same goal of raising future generations to know, love and serve Jesus.
It's never been easy to raise a family but it seems especially difficult now. Grandparents have a crucial role in nurturing and building families- an ongoing legacy.
Important points to remember
The book also highlights some important points, things that we should keep before us as a reminder. So it's a good idea to write them down and read them often to ensure that our attitudes and behaviours are in-check and in focus.
a) Being a good grandparent is not good enough
b) My soul’s condition shapes the impact of my legacy
c) I don’t have all the answers
d) Providing a safe place is more important than proving my point
e) My life is short, but my legacy is not.
f) Nothing is more important than praying for my grandchildren.
The last point, in particular, is a helpful reminder. Sometimes, the best and only thing you can do as a grandparent is to continue to pray for your grandchildren. Prayer is not an extra; it's an essential method to reach and disciple your family.
'The tendency is to look for a quick solution. The temptation is to feel helpless and throw up our hands in frustration. God has given us a solution and it's found in Philippians 4:6.'
My personal takeaways
A recent Barna study discovered that, after parents, grandparents are the greatest potential influence in the life of a child. For better or worse, young people are imitating the people they know best and who care for them. It may sound simplistic, but those with the greatest influence among young people are typically those who invest the greatest amount of time into their lives- hopefully, that's grandparents.
In other words, I need to have an ongoing active presence in their lives- and a positive presence, at that. There have been times when, as grandparents, we would like to offer some input in a situation that we may see as helpful but may be taken as critical or judgemental. It's important to limit any such comments unless they have been sought and to be helpful and encouraging.
And yes, it's not easy to be an ongoing positive presence especially if they live hundreds of kilometres from you. I know- five of my grandkids live quite some distance away- 5.5 hours by train. But there are many ways to connect across the distance. You can find some of these in this book, too.
What else can you learn from the book?
Grandparenting matters. Despite the negative image of grandparents painted by our culture as those who should spend their time relaxing and enjoying life- or maybe even seen as a burden or someone who does little more than dispense sweets and cookies- we are important. We are disciple-makers.
And we need to become more active in the lives of our family and grandkids- living obediently and prayerfully, as we seek to pass on Biblical truth to the next generation. Sure.. we don‘t need to step on toes or be thoughtless and unpleasant, as grandparents are sometimes portrayed in movies and sitcons. But there are many ways that we can help parents and be more intentional in their lives. It is given to us to pass on a rich heritage of faith to future generations.
I particularly appreciated the regular extension questions to help you revaluate just where you are and where you want to be as a grandparent. And, it encourages you to use the information in practical ways with your family.
If you're serious about your role as grandparent. If you want to impact your grandkids' lives and faith today. If you want to build a rich legacy of faith for future generations, here's the roadmap.
Let's do it!
Who would I recommend the summary to?
I’d recommend this book to anyone who seeks to embrace their God-given role as grandparent and strives to pass on a heritage of faith to their family. The book includes a Grandparent Declaration, designed to encourage you to honestly commit to becoming more than just a grandparent- a Christian grandparent and a legacy builder.
Grandparenting -strengthening your family and passing on your faith
-by Dr. Josh Mulvihill
Publisher: BETHANY HOUSE PUBL
RRP: $10.39 - $22.95 (Kindle $9.42)
Format: Paperback, Kindle
I would like to thank Bethany House Pub for providing me with the opportunity to read, and review, this book. (Copy provided for personal review through NetGalley.) . Thank you.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.