Written by Deb del Villar, Director of Communications
A fun game our daughter and her husband taught their children was “Freeze.” It was used to teach them to listen for their voice and respond immediately. When the grandchildren were young, the parents did it often so they would learn it well.
The grandchildren might have been playing and one of the parents would yell, “Freeze!” They then had to freeze immediately, stopping everything they were doing. They did not move and listened for what to do next.
In the beginning, they were not too quick, sometimes because they did not hear, while other times they were too busy playing. Lots of practice helped them learn to listen and respond no matter what. The grandchildren became very alert to hear their parents’ voices. Thank goodness, they became very good at it.
One day, their dad yelled, “Freeze!” – and sure enough everyone froze in place. Just then, a car speeding down their quiet street passed the driveway where one of the grandchildren was stepping out to cross the street. Because he had learned to listen and respond immediately to the parent’s voice, a tragedy was averted.
Through repeated teaching and coaching, the grandchildren had learned to listen and respond to their parents’ voices. Just as it is very important to listen and respond to our earthly parents’ voices, we need to help teach our grandchildren to listen and obey God’s voice.
This is accomplished the same way – with lots of teaching and coaching. It is first done by their parents; then in cooperation with them, we supplement that teaching and coaching.
Teach through stories
John 10:27-29 teaches us that God knows His children and that when His children hear His voice, they follow Him. May we be great examples of God’s children who hear His voice and follow Him. May our example give us opportunities to share the importance of why we listen and obey.
Allow them to share a time when it was very important that they listened to their parents or a time they wished they had. Depending on their age, give them the opportunity to share about a time they listened to God and were so glad. They may want to share about a time that they wished they had listened yet didn’t.
You may want to share stories as well. The Bible has many stories you could share. Focus on those who listened with the resultant blessing, as well as the consequences for disobedience.
Teach them the Scriptures
Depending on what they shared, have a conversation around an area that your grandchild may be struggling with currently such as lying, obeying immediately, or being kind. Read verses that deal with that sin, allowing the grandchild to choose one.
Then place that verse on an index card and have the grandchild decorate the card. Encourage her to put it in her Bible. Let her know you will also be praying that verse for her. Depending on the severity of the sin, warn if God’s voice is not heeded, there could be serious consequences. Throughout scripture, warnings are given to heed His voice.
Equip them with study tools
Hearing God’s voice through scripture reading is a great place to start. Part of the teaching and coaching you could do is considering what Bible study tools would be appropriate based on age and development. If your grandchild does not have access to them, consider purchasing them as gifts.
For the younger ones, a picture Bible for you or their parent to read to them is all they need. For the early to middle elementary, a Bible and blank journal where they can copy a verse that means a lot to them or color a picture of what they read is a great start. For the older grandchildren, help them learn how to use Bible dictionaries, concordance, commentaries, and online resources. The better they understand His Word, the better chance they have of heeding it.
Direct their hearts
Direct their heart to seek understanding of God’s Word like they are on a treasure hunt. Help them desire to dig in and find the wonderful gems in God’s Word. Pray that their desire for God’s Word increases. May the attitude move from “I want to hear” to “I want to understand.”
The move is from hearing God’s voice to raising their voice asking for understanding. As a baby cries for its momma and is satisfied when she hears her momma, so may your grandchildren be satisfied as they cry out to their heavenly Father, seeking understanding and He answers.
Allow them to ask questions
Allow them to struggle through what a scripture passage means. Tailor questions to your grandchild. Some questions you could ask are:
- How can you receive God’s Word?
- What is one way you could treasure God’s commandments?
- What does it mean to cry out for insight?
- Who helps you to understand the Bible?
- What is the difference between listening for and listening to God’s voice?
- Why is it so important to receive God’s Word? (v.5)
- What are some benefits of listening to God’s Word?
- What is one thing you want to remember from Proverbs 2:1-5?
Do an activity together
Younger grandchildren (Preschool-early elementary)
Read their favorite book together. Let them share why they like it so much. Allow them to pick out a favorite Bible story from their favorite Bible for you to read. Talk about why that story is a favorite. Be sure to share what you love about the Bible as well. Point back that it is where you hear God’s voice.
You could play “red light, green light.” This is a fun way to teach them to listen closely and follow directions. The “telephone” game could be played with the early elementary grandchildren. Stress it is important to really listen to what is being said. Be attentive to what you are hearing.
Middle to older grandchildren
Consider doing a Bible study together. It could be topical or a book of the Bible. One day a week you could each share what God has been teaching you. This can be done in person or virtually. There are great devotional resources out there that could be used. Two copies could be purchased so you each have one to work in.
Additionally, if you have several grandchildren around the same age you could do it as a group, meeting when it works for you. Again it could be done in person or virtually. What a blessing to have and hear the grandchildren interact around God’s Word!
Finally, let’s not forget to be listeners as well. First and foremost to God, but also our grandchildren, listening to what God is saying to them as well as how we can pray. Make sure there is a way they can record what God is teaching and telling them. Give them opportunities to share with you. What a blessing to hear what God is saying to them! Be sure to share what God is teaching you as you listen to His voice!
Always keep in mind how can we help them come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, as well as how we can help them grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. Remember the goal is that they know, listen to, and heed God’s voice – His Word.