I entered my season of grandparenting somewhat unprepared. I was certainly aware that our four sons were now grown men. They were nearing the finish line with college, preparing to start their careers, and interested in marriage and starting their own families. But where did this leave us as potential grandparents? What was that role supposed to look like?
I couldn’t help but notice that many of my friends were enjoying their retirement with newfound freedom and joy. With their kids were out of the house, they were traveling the world (or perhaps “cruising” the world would be more accurate) with exciting destinations of the Caribbean, Mediterranean, or Alaska. So, I thought “Maybe I could get onboard one day too!”
Other friends were looking into retirement homes in warmer climates. And the lure of the beach or a golfing community had us checking into similar options for ourselves.
Yet, as I dreamed of how to live this chapter of our lives well, I never realized the Bible had so much to say about our role as grandparents. Once I did, that changed everything.
What the Bible Says about Grandparenting
I reached a turning point when I saw Deuteronomy 4:9—a verse I had read many times while teaching Sunday School—in a new light.
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
Here, God is instructing Moses on how he should lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Moses was charged with urging Israel to obey God’s commandments, always and completely. Verse 9 shows us a simple two-step process:
- Look in the mirror and watch yourself closely
- Pass on spiritual truth and spiritual memories to your children and grandchildren
Dr. Josh Mulvihill, a national leader in grandparenting ministry, once commented that God wants us to think multi-generationally, as indicated in Psalm 78:1-7.
I have spent several years marinating in these principles and coming to understand what grandparenting means for me: God wants spiritual truths and stories of his faithfulness passed down from generation to generation in my family. This is how we, as grandparents, can most effectively lead our offspring to know Jesus.
Our role as grandparents is not just to bring the fun. It is not just to encourage our grandchildren. It is not simply to be available as babysitters! All those things are good, but, more importantly, we have the God-given responsibility to pass along our heritage of faith.
My husband and I want to be obedient to what God has instructed in his Word. And, with thirteen grandchildren, our work is cut out for us!
As I began to practice intentionality in teaching spiritual truth to our grandchildren, I discovered that it didn’t always come naturally and easily. The word “intentional” implies concentration and work which often means planning ahead for what you want to say or model to your grandchildren.
Over the years, God has allowed me and my husband to teach multiple workshops for grandparents and author several books for grandchildren and grandparents. When we recently moved to a new city, I wondered how God might continue honing our skills with intentional grandparenting in our new location. We were blessed to land at a church that was looking to start a grandparenting ministry, and we excitedly jumped onboard to help develop it.
Our prayer is that grandparents will take hold of the charge in Deuteronomy 4:9 and be intentional spiritual influences in the lives of their grandchildren to pass down their heritage of faith through the generations.
Learn about the Grandparenting Ministry at College Park Church.