Grandly on Television

Mike Shaughnessy, the author of The Strategic Grandparent, and founder of Grandly was interviewed in late October on EWTN’s At Home with Jim and Joy. This is an edited version of that interview. (If you want to watch it, go here.)

Joy:  Today our guest is Mike Shaughnessy and he is the author of a wonderful book called The Strategic Grandparent, and it is available at  He is also the founder of Grandly which is a strategic grandparent club. 

Mike, we welcome you to At Home with Jim and Joy and we are delighted to have you.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Mike:  I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota in an Irish Catholic family.  In high school I lived in school district that was a predominantly Protestant. Most my high school friends and I got involved together in Young Life.  That was a time where my faith really got transformed and changed and I decided I wanted to go into youth ministry. I volunteered for 4 years and then was headhunted by thirty high school kids from St. Benedicts’s Parish in Avon, Minnesota and started doing youth ministry right away after college.

Jim:  So you’re still involved in youth ministry?

Mike:  Yes, it has been, and a real interest for me all along.  I’ve written on it; I’ve trained people across the age ranges.  I’ve worked with junior high, high school, university age and now the young adult age, saying what’s going on in their heads?  What do they most need to hear?  Where is the church effective; where is it ineffective at reaching young people? 

Jim:  You use the terms “strategic” and “grandly” and “youth-ministry” and combine them with the word grandparent: the strategic grandparent, grandparenting, do it grandly and being along-side your grandchildren the way youth workers are, knowing what’s going on in the youth culture.  Unpack for us what you’re talking about. How do those fit together? 

Mike:  I was playing golf with a friend and he regularly asked me, “So Mike, I’m thinking I want to send my grandson on a mission trip.  When’s the next mission trip?  How do I pay for it?”  I thought, this guy’s really good.  He should have been a youth worker.  That’s when it hit me. “Grandpa should have been a youth worker?”  Yeah, grandpa…

But, I didn’t have the funds and I didn’t have the person.  Then, I had a conversation in Costa Rica at a conference with a young woman who was 24 named Pili and she asked, “Are you working on anything new?”  And I said, “Yeah, I want to start getting grandparents involved in youth ministry.” She loved it, left everything and became the first director of Grandly. 

Joy:  That’s amazing! 

(To be continued…)

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