Written by Brenda Peitzman, Director of Seminars
Most Christian grandparents have faced some sort of obstacles or barriers to being intentionally involved with their grandchildren. Three common types are geographical, relational, or spiritual barriers. 2020 has brought a NEW barrier of distance for grandparents. It is called SOCIAL DISTANCE!
Until this year, we had never heard of this term or terms like COVID, or coronavirus, or sheltering at home. Yet now we are very familiar with quarantining and social distancing. Additionally, the impact on our interaction with our families and specifically our grandchildren is very real and hard! Let’s explore this social distancing a little deeper.
First of all, during this unprecedented pandemic, it is important to acknowledge that we are looking at a moving target! The CDC and governmental guidelines change daily. States and even counties within our states vary greatly. We must be wise and prudent with how we choose to stay safe. Each family needs to decide what is best for them in the way of social distancing.
Will you get together face-to-face, in your homes, or will you decide that the risk factors involved with certain family members beckon the need for you to stay apart awhile longer? With restrictions loosening, we must still be wise, and do what is best for our families and ourselves.
Here are some keys to help in your decision making:
1. Seek God’s guidance through prayer and reading His Word.
- Proverbs 3:5-6 states “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”
- “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23
- “The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’” Psalm 32:8
2. Be mindful of your own age-related risks or pre-existing health conditions as well as the safety of others.
- “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20
3. Discuss as a family agreeing on what is best for all involved.
- “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
- “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” I Corinthians 10:24
4. Be creative!
Here are a few ideas for connecting with your grandchildren over the phone, FaceTime, or Skype:
- Send a Christian children’s book or Bible to your grandchildren. OR read a Bible story to your young grandchildren from your home to theirs every week or even more frequently if desired.
- Use ‘Let’s Talk cards’ available on the Legacy Coalition website to connect through purposeful conversation. These questions cards are age divided for grandchildren, and also give them a chance to ask the grandparent questions.
- Teach your grandchildren a Christian song. Consider a song that you sang as a child that is new to them but teaches the truth of God’s word to them.
- Set a night of the week to ‘tuck your grandkids into bed’. Read them a Bible story, tell them a story of when you were young, tell them your faith story, and use this time to pray with and for them.
- Send a blessing to each one of your grandchildren. Include special qualities about the individual grandchild, along with a verse and words of encouragement. Let them know that you are praying for them and trusting God to use the special way that He created them for His glory.
The most important thing Christian grandparents can do is spend more time in God’s Word. His promises will bring us comfort, hope, and encouragement during these days of questioning what to do, how long will this last, as well as how to get through this time of isolation and even fear.
The way you exhibit your confidence in God’s protection, His goodness, and His divine sovereignty to your children and grandchildren can greatly impact the way they handle crisis now and in the future.
If you would like more guidance on the topic of grandparenting obstacles or barriers, we recommend that you read the following books: