Cellphones, iPads, and smart watches claim too much of our time these days. But humans are created for relationships, and there are none more special than that between grandparents and grandkids. Sure, jump in and text them and share stuff on Instagram between visits. Just remember, all that technology magnifies the significance of face-to-face interactions.
1. Pray for each one by name every day.
You can do this. We have 14 (counting the one due in July), and I rarely miss a day of at least briefly mentioning each one to the Lord.
2. Sit around a table and enjoy conversations with them during and after a meal.
Plenty of people pay lots of money for entertainment far less rewarding than this! You’ll hear some quotes you will never forget. And your shared laughter will be priceless.
3. Look for “teachable moments.” That’s what Jesus did.
Never just say, “no.” Always explain why. Or, use an inappropriate commercial on TV to teach them why you disagree and what is a better option.
4. As soon as they enter your home or you enter theirs for a visit, behave like a pet acts when his beloved owner comes home from work.
I am not a naturally demonstrative person, so I have to work on this one. But, oh my, it’s so easy to act this way with grandkids!
5. Always give firm, wrap around hugs.
Let them know you will stop at nothing to protect and care for them if they ever need you.
6. Communicate your expectations for their behavior while in your home.
At “Cousins Camp” every summer, we post a list of rules, and we talk about them at the end of each day. Kids need parameters to feel secure and appreciated. Pretty soon they police each other’s behavior.
7. Teach them something fun, like how to catch fish or play the piano.
Whatever fun activity you enjoy most, help the kids learn to enjoy it, too. As long as they get to learn by doing it alongside you, the process can be fun and the memories can last a lifetime.
8. Talk about God in casual conversations.
Waiting for that “perfect moment” may never come. The key is to be honest and sincere when talking about your own experience with God. When given enough uninterrupted time, kids will often open the door to spiritual discussions.
9. When they need a word of correction, deliver it in a way that conveys your unconditional love for them.
Your method of accomplishing this one may look different from mine. Just intentionally remember that your love for them is unconditional.
10. Always, always, always take great care never to do or say anything hypocritical in their presence.
This one is a biggie. Kids can discern hypocrisy quicker than a mama bear senses danger for her cubs. Of course, hypocrisy will do some damage to your credibility with them, but there will also be a gradual loss of respect for authority in general. It will result in confusion in their trusting minds as well as lead to cynicism. We already have too much of that in adults these days!