There are three “A’s” every one of our grandchildren need. These will help mold their hearts and help build a solid foundation for our legacy as grandfathers.
Attention is spelled T-I-M-E. Words are cheap but time costs.
It is paid with our time, talent, treasure and touch.
When I was a youngster my family used to visit my grandparents at their home in Southern California. When my grandfather retired he always wanted to live by the water and spend some of his retirement time doing his favorite hobby and that was fishing.
When we used to visit them by this beautiful lake I would look at him in his boat fishing. As I observed him from the dock I wished he would teach me how to catch a fish. There were occasions he would take us out in his boat but I never once fished or caught a fish. To this day I have not caught a fish. The big one got away.
May I suggest that you intentionally plan activities
that require your grandchildren to get in the way.
My wife has come up with a great plan at Christmas. Our grandchildren look forward to this game every year. We give them a small gift but then the real fun starts. She makes up a scavenger hunt that involves the whole family. The grandchildren are given clues to test their knowledge of the true meaning of Christmas. Clues allow them to earn their special Christmas gifts – Cash! What a novel idea. It becomes memorable and a lot of fun.
This game always draws their attention.
Be creative it is memorable.
I emphasized this before, but I’m not sure I can say it enough. Affection and appropriate touch are vital in helping a child feel loved. If you don’t believe me ask your wife or mine. We cannot or must not forget the power of meaningful and appropriate touch. There’s real power in a HUG!
It is not enough to say you love your grandchildren.
It needs to be seen, expressed and felt.
When I think of affection I think of big giant hugs. I am a hugger. No handshakes allowed with my grandchildren. If they sneak in, I go looking for them. I want to make sure every one of them know I affectionately love them. Words are cheap. Actions speak louder than words.
Maybe you say, “I am not a hugger!” There, you said it again.
Let me give you a piece of advice: “Get over it!” There, I said it again.
Believe it or not, the best affection you can give your grandchildren sometimes has nothing to do with hugs or words. It may require that you simply be there. My grandson had several baseball games where he kept striking out. He just needed me to walk by him on the way to the car. He wasn’t ready for words or hugs, but my presence and eye contact let him know I loved him and supported him. Our grandchildren need to know we love them, even when life throws them curve balls.
Your grandchildren need to know you are not going to
abandon them. Your children need to know it also.
Words really matter.
The old rhyme that reads; “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a lie. Words can hurt much more than sticks or stones. They destroy the spirit. The best way to show affirmation is to take time to look in their eyes, ask questions, be quiet and listen. When you do speak, do not be a fixer or lecturer. Do a lot of “Hmm,” “Great,” I am sorry.” Be supportive, and you will earn the right to speak.
Remember you are to be a “cheerleader.” Keep cheering even when they strike out, fall down or fail. You are the one who comes alongside and says, “It is going to be OK!” “God is on your side, and so am I.” “Don’t give up; be strong; keep going.” “You really are God’s best, and don’t you forget it. Remember you have to become who you are.” “God will love you and that will never, never, never change, no matter what.” Sounds like something God would say.
It might be a great time to say, “Group Hug!” It might be all the affirmation they need.
You need to expect and call the best out of your grandchildren.
God will meet you at your level of expectancy.
Strive for a “Triple A” rating.
I will commit to intentionally show affection, affirmation and attention to my grandchildren. These will become the outward evidences of my inward love and support. I will choose to build them up by honoring and praising them every opportunity I can.
Dr. Dan Erickson
Chief Servant Leader | People Matter Ministries