WELCOME! Three Steps for New Grandparents
Step One: Pray
When your first grandchild is born, your first step into God’s calling is to pray. Pray for the baby. Pray for the parents. Pray for yourself as you step into the role designed by God. In Russia, babushkas are known as the “praying grandmothers.” These dedicated women often fall to their knees praying fervently on behalf of their loved ones. In fact, historians credit these grandmothers with being a significant obstacle to the capture of Russia by Stalin’s army during World War II. Praying for their sons and grandsons as they were dragged to war by Stalin’s soldiers, the babushkas cried to the Lord in a mighty way.
Our role as prayer warriors for the next generation is similar. By committing to daily prayer, you enter a partnership with God on behalf of your loved ones. Your prayers provide a spiritual wall of protection over your families. Living in a turbulent world, your children and grandchildren need such protection. It is God’s design for grandparents to rise to His calling by falling to their knees daily.
Step Two: Bless
Words are mighty. There is a powerful tradition in the Hebrew faith of parents, especially fathers, speaking a blessing over their children. Often we read in the Old Testament of the patriarchs blessing their descendants. Sadly, the tradition faded over the centuries in Christian churches. Yet it is a powerful tool through which grandparents can make a significant difference in the lives of their loved ones. Blessing your grandchild is different from praying. When you pray, you are speaking to God on behalf of your loved ones. When you bless, you are speaking to your grandchildren on behalf of the Lord. You become God’s instrument to speak His truth over your loved ones.
The Blessing of Aaron in Numbers 6: 24 – 26 is the most familiar blessing. These are powerful words you, as a grandparent, can speak over your loved ones as you lay hands in a loving and appropriate way. You may prefer to write a personal blessing to speak at special occasions such as the birth or baptism of your grandchild. Over the years you may speak blessings at birthdays, holidays or significant occasions. A simple blessing spoken at bed time or as your grandchild leaves your home becomes a powerful tradition that the child treasures.
Step Three: Pursue
Pursuing healthy relationships with your grown children, your grandchildren’s parents, is one of the most significant actions a new grandparent can undertake. Being intentional about developing a strong relationship with the parents, especially mom, lays an important foundation for the future. If you do not have a healthy relationship with your adult children, it will be challenging to maintain a good relationship with your grandchildren. Grab a cup of coffee with your grown children. Invite them to a simple dinner. Or take a long walk together. As you spend time together, you are cultivating a special and precious relationship. If you do not live near each other, call, “FaceTime” or “Hangout.” Even writing letters can be a means to draw closer.
Some grandparents have issues with their grown children (or vice versa). That makes it difficult to pursue a healthy relationship. If you have such a challenge, prayerfully seek the Lord on ways to mend the brokenness. Be willing to ask for forgiveness where warranted. Be gracious to extend forgiveness when needed. Know that when you forgive someone, it is not condoning his behavior. It is releasing the situation to the Lord for Him to handle in His way and in His time. You are stepping out of God’s way so that He can reach the heart of your loved one. The goal is to have the best relationship as possible with your loved ones.
Welcome to the wonderful world of grandparenting! I cannot think of anything more awesome than the role of a grandparent. It was never meant to be a secret. Yes, there are joys. No doubt there will be challenges. But remember God has His divine vision for grandparents. As you pray for your grandchildren, speak blessings over them, and pursue healthy relationships, know that you are stepping into God’s plan of reaching the next generations for Him. It is GRANDparents making a difference.