by Jesse Florea, editor of Focus on the Family Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines
Children grow. We can’t stop them. One minute they’re taking their first steps, the next they’re asking for the car keys, and a moment later they’re introducing you to your grandchild.
As grandparents, even if we don’t live next door, we can play a big part in training up those little ones in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). That includes spiritual training, educational training, and character training. But at some point, just like with our own children, our grandchildren have to take the “spiritual” wheel of their lives.
This fact nearly broke through a windshield and hit me in the face as a parent. Let me explain. I was on a driving trip with my 16-year-old son. He needed some highway experience, so he took the wheel on a 120-mile journey from Ft. Collins to our home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A few miles into our trip, I noticed brake lights and cars swerving ahead of us. Sitting in the passenger seat, I didn’t think much of it until I spotted a full-size washing machine sitting in the middle of I-25. Definitely not an everyday occurrence, but my son handled the situation like he’d seen it a million times. With only a couple seconds of warning, he calmly pressed on the brakes and maneuvered around the metal behemoth.
I complimented him on the way he missed hitting the washing machine and the other cars. As we discussed the dangers of major appliances sitting in the middle of a highway, a landscaping truck pulled in front of us. Not a bad thing, unless a rake falls out, hits the road, breaks in two, and goes airborne. Again, not an everyday occurrence, but that’s exactly what happened. Teeth churning wildly, the metal rake looked lethal as it spun toward our windshield at nearly 80 mph.
I closed my eyes and ducked. (I admit, not a great thing to do as a dad.) My son calmly jogged the car into the median and back onto the road, thus missing the spinning rake of death.
That’s when it hit me: my son had grown up. Not only that, but he’d been listening to me all those years as I talked to him about defensive driving, being alert at the wheel, and watching for the unexpected dangers of driving that you have to be ready for. He was equipped to be a good driver.
Similarly, we need to be just as intentional as we equip our grandchildren to handle the dangers of the modern world. They need to know what they believe and why they believe it. They need to know who they are in Christ—that they are deeply loved and accepted. This doesn’t happen in a one-time conversation. It happens gradually through years of conversations and interactions.
And just like I realized my son was listening to me (even when I didn’t realize it), your grandkids are listening to you . . . especially during their developmental years. Your presence and wisdom can go a long way in equipping them to be compassionate, humble, God-honoring people. But finding the opportunities to start those conversations isn’t easy.
As the holidays approach, you may be facing a quandary of what to give your grandchildren. You hope to give them a gift that’s meaningful and that they’ll remember.
Focus on the Family Clubhouse or Clubhouse Jr. magazines could be that gift. These award-winning magazines are designed to teach your grandchildren solid character values, godly wisdom, and truth about the Christian faith. And they do it in a fun, not-preachy, way. For nearly 35 years, Clubhouse (for kids 8-12) and Clubhouse Jr. (for 3-7 year-olds) have been tools used by grandparents to pass down a thriving faith in Jesus.
This Christmas, Focus on the Family has partnered with the Legacy Coalition to offer a special introductory subscription of $14.99 for one year of our magazines! That’s a discount of 72% off the cover price. Order your subscriptions today at this link and enter promo code CLUB1499 at checkout or call 833-753-3434 and mention code 1023503. (*Note: This offer expires 12/18/20.)
As the editor of these two publications for more than 20 years, I’ve received numerous letters from grandparents who have seen the life-changing difference these magazines can make in a child’s life. Some grandparents have purchased two subscriptions—one for themselves and one for their grandchild—so they can talk about what’s in the magazine every month. Some even FaceTime or Skype with their grandkids to read each issue of the magazine together. And many have seen their grandchildren grow closer to God through the Bible stories, Christian worldview teaching, and prayers. (At least once a year, readers of Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. are given the opportunity to pray and accept Jesus as their Savior.)
Our kids are ultimately responsible for training up our grandkids. But that doesn’t mean we can’t nudge those precious grandchildren toward following God’s will for their lives. And the earlier we start, the better.
Plus, we should always be praying for our grandchildren to steer away from life’s dangerous pitfalls . . . especially spinning rakes.
Jesse Florea has worked at Focus on the Family for more than 27 years. He currently serves as editor of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine and Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. magazines. He’s also the co-host of two popular podcasts for kids—the “Official Average Boy” podcast and the “Official Adventures in Odyssey” podcast.