There was a time when it was taken for granted that the “moms and dads” or “significant care givers” of preschoolers and children in our churches were young adults. At the max, these folks were in their early forties. Not so anymore. It is becoming more and more usual that many grandparents are taking part in the rearing of their “kids’ kids.”
There was also a time in my own ministry as a children’s minister when I was guilty of possibly judging those families and making unfair observations about the parents of those kids. Trust me…that is no longer the case!
My wife and I are currently experiencing both of our daughters moving back in with us for a period of time. With each daughter has come two children…a total of four grandkids. Contrary to what some might think or presume, both of my daughter are excellent moms. They each just happen to be in a season of life where they need family support. One daughter is separated from her husband. The other’s husband is in military training and facing deployment.
Please understand…we are not the sole providers and guides for these four grandchildren. Their moms do a great job of meeting their daily needs; however, they all live in our home, go to the same church and are involved in activities in our immediate community. We have the joy of being “very close” to them and being an integral part of their lives. We are blessed to have this opportunity.
But, in the midst of these blessings, comes responsibility and “fatigue.” (I don’t know how Abraham and Sarah did it at their ripe old ages!) Regardless of the circumstances in which grandparents find themselves making investments in the lives of their grandkids’ formative years, the church would be wise to take these “mature in years” parents into consideration and provide some support. “How?” you may ask. Well, I’ve been thinking…
- What about establishing a support groups for grandparents who are helping to raise their grandkids? There are times when it is helpful just to network with others who are in a similar situation. NO “pity parties” allowed…just a time of sharing and learning.
- Maybe provide resources to help keep grandparents in touch with the current world in which kids are growing up. The old saying “We’re not in Kansas anymore!” is so very true. Kids’ needs remain the same, but, the world and culture in which they live is dramatically different. Even a class on becoming more “technologically savvy” would be helpful!
- Plan and make available a “grandparents” night out! Everyone needs a respite from time to time. What a message to send to grandparents…”As a church family we love you and want to walk along side of you on your journey.”
- Include grandparents in training sessions on “Guiding Behavior” and “Leading a Child to Christ.”
- Purpose to place the names of grandparents who are helping to nurture and guide grandkids “in the way they should go” in your prayer room/prayer ministry. Make sure that these folks get some type of human touch…notes of encouragement and reminders of the importance of what they are attempting to do (with God’s help!)
Well, I’m still thinking…but right now I need to pick up a grandson at baseball practice, go to a cheerleading competition for a granddaughter, help a granddaughter bake brownies, not to mention spending some “one on one” time with a granddaughter who is prone to having “total come-aparts!” Did I tell you how much I love each of these and all 12 of my grandchildren!!!
Thank you for this article. Many of our kids arrive at church with grandparents. Some long to see their grandchildren and aren’t allowed or they live a distance. With Skype, email, texting and Facebook grandparents can share and nurture their grandchildren. Thanks for the ideas for grandparents! Makes me rethink my monthly newsletters for parents. Maybe a quarterly grandparents newsletter would be useful.