By Joey & Carla Link
June 14, 2023
I am grateful for any time I get with our seven grandchildren, ages 10 months to 12 years. Carla and I agreed when our first grandchild was born that we would not be long-distance grandparents, even though our kids live 4, 8 and 10 hrs. away. We have made the effort to see the kids as often as we can work it out and we keep up with them digitally. We are very thankful for that blessing. Between us, we talk to both our daughters, who live the furthest away and their little ones via video chat on Facetime/Facebook Messenger almost every day.
Every dad needs to have goals for what he is doing and why. Every grandfather needs to have goals to accomplish the way he wants to influence his grandchildren’s lives. Here are 3 from my experience as a dad and now a grandpa that are relevant to both.
1. Have fun with your kids/grandkids.
Enjoy spending time with your kids! Take them to the park to run and play, ride bikes, and play games with them.
· Do things they think are fun. I’m not a Candyland© fan but I will play it with my preschool grandkids when they ask me to because the point isn’t about what you are doing, it is about being with your kids/grands.
· Plan things you think are fun too! At Easter time, when our kids were growing up we loved to hide Easter eggs in the house (we live in the Midwest and it is still cold here at Easter). Now we hide our grandkids’ “stuffies” (stuffed animals) in the same places we used to hide eggs. It’s a Link family favorite game which is usually first on the list of things they want to do with us when we visit them or they are visiting us.
2. Hold to your standards and insist on what is right.
It’s your home Dad, and you have standards of what is right and wrong, which we trust are biblical ones. You and your spouse work hard to train your kids to uphold these standards whether they want to or not. You don’t have to justify your standards to anyone but God.
It is a tough transition for parents, when their kids get married and set up their own homes and you are no longer the primary influence in their lives. This means they are going to do things differently than you think they should and that is okay. They don’t have to do it your way. Be thankful they are choosing to do it God’s way.
As grandparents, Carla and I ask our adult kids what rules they want us to uphold when we are alone with their kids and what they want us to do when they misbehave. It isn’t our place to make these decisions, unless it has to do with their safety while they are in our care. It is a way of honoring your kids’ role as parents. Don’t let your time with your grands be a free-for-all. Hold your grands to the standards their parents have asked you to.
I took my 2 ½ yr. old granddaughter to lunch on our most recent visit to see them. Her mom had prewarned me that she was very independent so she would resist holding my hand. I didn’t trust her not to take off and run across the parking lot so I insisted she hold my hand as soon as I got her out of the car and she did. We made several stops on this lunch excursion and each time she took hold of my hand when we got out of the car. The next day we went out with our daughter and she was surprised her daughter held my hand with no fighting or pouting. I had told her on our first outing that if she didn’t hold my hand we would get back in the car and go home and there would be no “Papa-time” that day.
3. Pray with them and for them.
I LOVE tucking my grands into bed and listening to what is in their hearts as they settle down for the night. They often will tell me things they are thinking about. I also love praying with each of them. I pray God’s Word over them so they hear it just for them, but also so they know that I long for them to know God and love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love others just as much as they love themselves (Matthew 22:37-39). One of my favorite memories of time with my kids when they were growing up was tucking each of them into bed at night.
As a parent or grandparent, you have a very powerful role and influence in and over you kids and grandkids. Enjoy it, use it and make a difference in their lives for Jesus’ sake
I have experienced the blessing of watching my kids listen to and trust God their Heavenly Father to an even greater extent than they listened to and trusted me. The main reason you need to be a great example of a dad to your kids and grandkids is so they will one day fully understand how God could be the ultimate Father to them too.
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
I Corinthians 11:1