My grandfather knew how to do stuff. He made a wooden lamp for each of his grandchildren. He used a lathe, a sander, a saw, glue, a drill, a screwdriver, and a pair of wire cutters. As a boy, I was fascinated as I watched him use these tools. I was forbidden to touch them without permission because they were dangerous.)
Today I realize that my grandfather wasn’t a great woodworker. He wasn’t a carpenter. But he did know how to use some basic tools and get stuff to happen. Every grandparent has a “tool chest” that can help make stuff happen in their grandchildren’s lives. The tools are simple: time, money, and prayer… Put these tools to work and good stuff happens!
Go to your tool chest and pick up the most important tool in it, the one labeled “prayer.” A lot of grandparents find that when they pray for each child by name and ask for wisdom from God, they get it! The Lord gives them insight into how to use their other tools – time, money, hugs, etc. to help their grandchildren grow stronger in faith, courage, or other virtues. At other times, grandparents find their prayers answered in a timely way: “I suddenly knew what to say right when I needed to say it.”
Now look in the tool chest drawer labeled “quality time.” In it is a really important tool called “think.” Sometimes, it is also called “plan.” Thinking time is quality time. If you think ahead about how to use “the week when you have Billy and Sara,” you will almost certainly use it better!
There is a third tool that is highly effective. You will find it in your “love” drawer. Look for the tool called “encouragement.” Like a knife, you can use that for all kinds of things in all kinds of situations.
Children respond to praise and encouragement. It reinforces within them an understanding of what is right and good. It helps them create good habits that will last them the rest of their lives.
There are few joys as deep and lasting as helping your own grandchildren to become the kind of person you know they can be. God has given you the tools to do an amazing thing.
Use your tool chest today. Pray for wisdom. Think about the next time you will visit with your granddaughter or grandson, and be ready to give the encouragement that makes a difference!
Mike Shaughnessy is the Executive Director of Grandly and the Editor of the Kairos Youth Culture Newsletter.
Copyright © 2016 Grandly – The Strategic Grandparents Club.