GrandPause: Honor your parents because God said so—no matter what age you are. –James MacDonald
If we take the Bible seriously (you do, right?), then we know that finding a way to honor our parents, no matter who they have been, no matter what they have done, is a very significant action. I’m serious. The Bible is filled with stories of people who honored their parents and succeeded and of those who did not honor their parents and failed. If you’re alive, you’ve got parents (even if they are no longer living)—and God’s command is to honor them (see Exodus 20:12).
These words from James MacDonald, pastor of Chicago’s Harvest Bible Chapel, are important words for us to hear as grandparents. When Father’s Day comes around, do we think about our own fathers and our responsibility to honor them? What example and message do we send to our grandchildren by the manner in which we treat or speak of our own fathers?
MEANS #3: PREPARING YOUR GRANDCHILDREN FOR ADULTHOOD
GrandPause: May the Lord bless you and keep you… and give you peace (Num.6:24-26)
Obviously, the ideal scenario for preparing and equipping our grandchildren for adulthood is a strong, healthy alliance with our adult children. I believe that is how God would want it as well. However, in the face of obstacles that make such an alliance difficult or impossible, we must realize that God has not left us without certain means for helping our grandchildren prepare to walk in the truth as adults moving towards full maturity in Christ.
My last blog focused on the means of living intentionally as examples of Christlikeness through intentional praying and intentional serving. In this post, I want to address one other very powerful means, or tool, God has given us for this task.
Means #3: Be a Conduit of Blessing
The first act of God recorded in Scripture after the creation of man (male and female) was to pronounce a blessing. Read again what the Scriptures say: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it…’” (Genesis 1:27-28).
Faith and works are like the light and heat of a candle; they cannot be separated.
I am absolutely convinced that no matter how a good a job parents or grandparents do, there are still no guarantees our children and grandchildren will walk in the way of truth and faith in Christ. On the other hand, I am equally convinced that when we intentionally create a positive environment in which they are being prepared for adulthood, and they have seen genuine faith at work in us, well… let’s just say I’d rather have those odds. If we don’t do it, then we leave them to figure it out on their own… or learn from someone else. Which is the greater risk?
As I discussed last week, a good parent-grandparent partnership is a powerful tool for building that strong family environment where a child learns what it means to be an adult who walks in the truth. But what if that partnership is not possible. What if it just isn’t working like you would have hoped?
In spite of difficult situations, there are still two other powerful ‘means’ grandparents can employ to help their grandchildren mature into responsible adults who walk in God’s truth.
GrandPause: When a village fails to initiate its boys into manhood, those same boys will burn down the village just to feel the heat. (Old African Proverb)
Have you noticed how often ‘village burnings’ are occurring in our society these days?
Besides the obvious examples of Ferguson, Berkeley, Baltimore and Brooklyn, there are plenty of other examples of ‘village burnings’: school shootings, gang violence, and cyber-bullying are but a few. Even Judge Judy’s courtroom is filled with young (and sometimes, not so young) plaintiffs and defendants trying to blame someone else for their own wrongful behavior. Our culture has become increasingly violent and self-centered where young adults act more like tantrum-throwing toddlers than mature adults.
While numerous reasons exist to explain such behaviors, at the top of the list has to be the failure of parents and society to prepare children for adulthood. Far too many parents and grandparents have bought into the adolescent lie and neglected their responsibility to train, model and then initiate their children into adulthood.
It is a serious enough problem that I am devoting my next three blogs to this topic. I will suggest three important means—or opportunities—that grandparents have at their disposal to help prepare their grandchildren for adulthood.