What Valuable Heirlooms are you Passing on to your Grandchildren? A book review of 'Heirlooms - Passing Faith Stories to Your Grandchildren
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Stories matter. We relate to stories. They help to answer questions. They draw out emotions. They explain why a person is who he is... Stories can also show us how similar we are. They can tell us about our history. Stories can also help us to connect to each other. Stories can teach.
It's not for nothing that so many stories can be found within the pages of the Bible, stories of families and their histories, stories of great faith, stories of heroes, stories of trust and obedience, stories that we understand and can relate to... and children love stories.
I remember the stories of my own grandmother. She emigrated to Australia alone as a young woman. I can only imagine her fear and uncertainty, leaving home and family. She spoke little of the voyage except for one incident, when I had admitted dreading an upcoming event.
She was silent for a while.. then she began to tell me her story of the voyage as the boat rounded the Cape of Storms. I listened spell-bound as she described the massive waves towering high above the passenger liner. Wide-eyed, I heard of the boat surging and tossing, struggling to maintain its progress. Grandma was tossed from her bunk and clung to the rails.
"Weren't you scared, Grandma?" I asked. "Yes, yes. I was very scared. But God reminded me of a verse from Deuteronomy 33:27.. 'The eternal God is my refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms..' I knew that whatever happened to the boat, the passengers and to me .... even if I was swept into the ocean, God's arms were there waiting for me. He was in control- not the waves or the weather.'
My grandmother could have just told me that God would be with me, that I didn't need to be afraid. But her story painted a graphic picture of God's love and care for her. It gave me courage and confidence that He would be there for me, too. And her story reminded me that God's Word held a message to me of His ongoing love and care.
Tina Houser presents the message that your greatest heirloom, the greatest treasure you can bequeath to you grandkids, is the life-stories and faith lessons you have learned. This doesn't mean that you sit your grandkids down whenever you see them and start expounding your message.
Rather, this should be natural and fun. I don't know how many times my own grandkids have asked me to tell them a story. And they love stories of their family. So tell them stories of their own parents when they were young. Tell about your mishaps and mistakes (especially if they are fun ones) plus your achievements and successes.. Tell them about a time past and almost forgotten, when computers and handheld devices were unheard of, a time when TV came in black and white and milk was delivered.
But woven into the fabric of the stories should be the message of God's love, regardless of the era, and the value of your faith in Christ throughout your life. That is a story worth telling- a message worth passing on.
Important Points to Remember
While Tina encourages you to keep the focus on faith-building during your precious time with your grandkids, she also includes valuable tips and hints.
She suggests that you keep sticky notes handy and write down any ideas and story suggestions- those times when God stepped in to change your life. Then you will be prepared if and when the opportunity to share a story presents itself.
Remember the age and attention span of your grandkids and keep your stories short and sweet for little ones. They'll certainly ask for more if it's fun. Present your stories in a positive light and be honest and authentic.
If you can't think of any faith story ideas, use objects as story starters. For example, a piece of jewellery or clothing, an old photo or a piece of furniture can grab a child's attention and help present a faith story in a way that will be remembered.
The book concludes with some fun activities that you can enjoy with your grandchildren- activities that will help you connect and build memories together.
Tina Houser also lists some focus words that will encourage you to become a better grandparent.
My Personal Takeaways
I come from a long line of story-tellers and readers so this book certainly resonates with me. I'm also reminded of the times in Scripture when God's people are told to share the amazing stories of God's care and provision: 'Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.'
I appreciate the focus words that Tina lists to encourage you to become a better grandparent, too: because, experiences, together, watch, with
We've been told that we remember 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see and 80% of what we experience. So these focus words remind me to build experiences into my short time with my grandkids- do things together, have fun with them, create and enjoy fun snacks together, visit special places. I am all too aware that my grandchildren are growing up fast and my time is limited.
So the quote in this book that stands out for me is: "An heirloom you can pass on to your grandchildren is the assurance that you found great joy in spending time together.'
Who would I recommend reading this book?
If you're a grandparent, then you should read this book. As a grandparent, it's easy to gain the impression that our role is merely to babysit the kids when required or to provide gifts or even financial assistance. And sure.. there are times when this type of involvement is needed. And it's wonderful if your grandkids enjoy fun visits with you.
But grandparents are so much more important that this. Grandparents can have a crucial role in nurturing the faith of their grandkids in simple though important ways. They can share their own faith journey and nurture faith in their grandkids. Read this book and be encouraged to share your faith journey very simply with your grandchildren through stories, sharing and connecting.
Heirlooms: Passing Faith Stories to Your Grandchildren - by Tina Houser
Publisher: Warner Press Inc 2019
Estimated reading time:
I would like to thank Warner Press for providing me with the opportunity to read, and review, this book. (Digital copy provided for review purposes only.)
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.