Fishers UMC Blog

Grandparenting

It was a great day for fishing on Lake Barclay located in upstate New York. The cloudy skies and moderate temperatures made for a perfect day for catching fish. My grandfather and I (then 10 years old) in a metal rowboat had found the sweet spot. As we talked we did not notice the white clouds turning darker, the slight chop of the waves, “made our bait even more effective”. As we busily took fish after fish off the hook, we heard a slight rumble in the distance.  We continue to fish until we saw, my dad running along shore shouting something and waving his arms. What was wrong?   Did someone get hurt?  We waved at him, which seemed to frustrate him more. He started pointing at the sky and waving us in. The clouds were getting darker. We pulled in our lines, pulled up the anchor, put our stringer of fish in the boat and I began to row towards the cabin away from my dad, the wind was blowing towards the cabin.  He was frantically waving us towards him. I turned the boat into the wind and headed towards Dad. As I rowed the boat my Grandfather is encouraging me, the wind is getting stronger, the waves a little bouncier, sky turned darker and thunder increased in volume. We were getting closer to shore and Dad was shouting I thought I heard the words “tornado warning”. As I struggled to get to shore the hard rain started and lightning lit up the sky. We docked the boat and headed towards the cabin.

As I rowed the boat I was reminded by grandfather, of Jesus calming the storm, of Peter walking on the water and his calm faith that everything we would be OK.

I share this memory with you because our journey of faith, is not personal but generational. In Deuteronomy 4:9 we are encouraged to teach the faithfulness of God to the generations. As a grandparent I have a responsibility to teach and share my faith with my grandchildren. I have a responsibility to be intentional about faith building in their lives. When they spend the night,  pray over and with them at bedtime.  Find the opportunity bring faith into everyday experiences as shared above. Encourage them to attend church, to read their Bible and to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind. Accept the  responsibility to be present as much as possible, and to invest the time you have. Grandparenting is not a spectator activity but needs real involvement in matters of faith. Recent multiple studies show that it is easier and more likely for kids to talk about faith issues with grandparents than parents.

I believe it is time for grandparents to take a stand of faith and engage our grandchildren in spiritual conversations. Believe it or not our grandchildren are looking to us for wisdom, encouragement and unconditional love. As you proceed in your God given responsibility to disciple and spiritually lead your grandchildren, here are a couple of cautions to keep in mind:

  • It is not easy, life is sometimes messy, busy and complicated.     
  • Share life experiences and faith , Do not Preach.
  • Be intentional in the moments you have.
  • Not all people in this role are blood related, some are granted by proximity.
  • Engage the parents in conversation as well.
  • Listen first and offer to help
  • Provide resources needed: Bible, devotional, money for spiritual experiences (camps, mission trips, youth groups, children’s ministry etc)
  • Go forward with the power and presence of God.

YOU ARE BUILDING MEMORIES

For encouragement check out these online resources
 
 
Larry Crane
Director of Children's Ministries 
Posted by Larry Crane with

Lessons from a 13 year old

Recently, I was reading a blog that described an important lesson the author learned from a 13 year old.  The lesson was ‘You be you’. Good reminders in the article about owning who you are. What surprised me was that the author was somewhat taken back that a 13 year old had wisdom to offer to her as an adult.

 

Perhaps it is my 16 years working in Junior High ministry, but I’ve learned a great deal from 13 year olds.  For instance:

-How to turn off my ipod

-How to use a flat iron

-How to connect a Bluetooth device

-That Young Adult fiction is amazing

-More YA authors than I can count

-That young teens have phenomenal capacity for serving, compassion, achievement if empowered and given opportunity.

-The deliciousness of Sonic tots

-That young teens want their parents involved in their lives more than they can ever articulate

This is just what I came up with in a few minutes one afternoon. If you’ve ever spent much time with me, you know that I am a firm believer in that junior high students are some of the greatest people on the planet. They have little to no filter. They possess the ability to wrestle with faith and work out their relationship with Christ in ways I never did at their age. Junior highers like to play!

One of my favorite pictures from our last mission trip to Green Bay is students spread out all over the playground equipment, yet digging into their Bibles during morning devotions. It’s a beautiful snapshot of the process young teens are undergoing. It brings my heart joy to be a tiny part of junior higher’s faith journey. What a privilege to be invited into their lives at a pivotal time in development!

A HUGE pet peeve is when teenagers are called ‘the church of tomorrow’. Seriously…this just needs to STOP! Teenagers are an active, vital part of the church TODAY! I often remind people who say this phrase that when our congregation confirms sixth graders that they become full members of Fishers United Methodist Church.  This means they have the same standing as any adult member. Please do not discount them because they aren’t a grownup. Or because they can’t drive yet. Or because their tithe is either nonexistent or very small. Young teens have energy. They have tech knowledge that I will never understand. They have insights that other generations do not. Teenagers have a mindset of opportunity—they have an innate ability to find solutions, a work-around, another way (yes, even if they can’t find the peanut butter in the pantry). Why would the church body not want to utilize their gifts?!

I tell students that I am their champion within the church structure. If ever the need arises, I have their back. Why? Because God has called me to serve young teens. He has gifted me with the opportunity to serve. And if need be, I’ll defend or champion them to the bitter end. Why? Because I don’t see their age as a limitation. I see it as an asset.

There is quite a bit to be learned from a 13 year old. I highly recommend spending some time getting to know some of our Fire & Water junior highers. They are some of the best people I know. And, there is probably a thing or two that they could teach you.

Blessings,
Liz Simmonds
Director of Jr. High Student Ministries

PS Want to serve in the JH ministry? I would LOVE to chat about that. Shoot me a text, email, or phone call. (Though a 13 year old would tell you that no one makes phone calls anymore.)

Posted by Liz Simmonds with

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