Looking back, I now realize how thoughtful and purposeful my grandparents were with their grandchildren. My grandmother loves giving gifts but she wasn’t content with buying the newest baby dolls and the latest race cars for us. Instead, she made sure our birthday and Christmas gifts had an element of faith in them. One Christmas, my grandma gave each of us a cross to hang in our rooms so we could start a “prayer corner”.
Most years, my grandparents would celebrate the 12 days of Christmas by allowing us to open a gift each day leading up to Christmas. We would receive a scripture verse and a Christian-themed gift (something small like an ornament or an additional piece for our nativity set). Additionally, they included some candy or something more ‘fun’ for the kid side of us. My grandparents illustrated the true joy of God’s gift to us by giving us little presents with Christian messages. I eventually came to realize that my grandma and grandpa cared more about me growing close to God than about watching me open a cool present. I was deeply impacted by their intentional gift-giving.
Another purposeful activity my grandparents undertook was to take the time to build a personal relationship with each of us. Until we turned 18, each grandchild was treated to breakfast with my grandparents on his or her birthday as a way to celebrate our special day. What a wonderful way it was for me to get to know my grandparents as people, to hear their stories first-hand, and to come to know, love and trust them!
When I recall all my grandparents did, I realize that I had uncommonly intentional grandparents who clearly loved me and made time in their lives for me. I am blessed to have had their support in my Christian faith, their help in how to build and value relationships intergenerationally, and their example of what committed love looks like. My grandparents understood that they could play a part in my formation as a man so they took action to help me grow and flourish. For this, I thank God immensely!
- Have you had a chance to share a personal story with your grandchildren? (Perhaps you could tell them a story from your childhood or how you became Christian or how you’ve seen the Lord work in your life.)
- Think of a personal story you’d like your grandchildren to know about and plan on sharing it with them. They will enjoy spending time with you and get to know grandpa and grandma better.
- Make a list of creative gift ideas for your grandchildren that contain an element of faith.
Caleb Mattson lives in Lansing, Michigan and is a grandson.
Copyright © 2021 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.