How I Started a Grandly Group

An Interview with Jenn Galer

I am here with Jenn Galer, the mother of 7 and grandmother of 13. Jenn, you began a Grandly group in your church. Why?

Jenn: I read The Strategic Grandparent and really liked it. I know many grandparents in my parish and wanted to support grandparenting. I have a lot of grandchildren   of varying ages with very different parenting styles, and thought, “I could use the support, too.” So, rather than just give the book to some friends I thought it would be better to discuss it together. After purchasing a bunch of copies of the book, I asked my friends if they wanted to read and discuss it. They did, and that is how we started.

Grandly: So is it a book club?

Jenn: Well, that is sort of how it started out but we didn’t just discuss the book we discussed our grandchildren as well. That’s why I say it is a support group also.

Grandly: What does the group look like practically? What do you do?

Jenn: We started with the prayer that is at the beginning of the book. One person read it out loud. Then we discussed the book chapter by chapter.  We did it by asking what in the book inspired us, challenged us, or gave us some good ideas about what we could do with our grandchildren. Over time we no longer tried to cover a whole chapter; instead, we went section by section. 

Grandly: Were people ready to talk?

Jenn: About grandparenting? Oh, yes! We talked about what was going well. We all had successes to share but we also talked about the challenges, the things that weren’t going so well. 

Grandly: How have you seen your group make a difference for its members? 

Jenn: Talking about faith increases your own faith. As time went on, we were all able to pray pretty openly and honestly for upcoming events and opportunities in the lives of our grandchildren.

Grandly: How about for you? Any answered prayers?

Jenn: Oh, yes! I asked the group for prayer prior to our first ever extended family vacation–all 28 of us. I was excited but terrified! The personality mix can be quite toxic at times. The answered prayer I received borders on the miraculous. The vacation was so good that everyone wants to do it again next year, even paying their own way. 

Jenn Galer is the grandmother of 13, lives in Lansing, Michigan and attends Resurrection Church.

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