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