Written by Carol Beaver, Church Advocate, Legacy Coalition
Ah, September! The harbinger of changing colors and cooling temperatures. The return to school and settling into routines after summer. In Georgia, where I live currently, school has already been in session for three or four weeks.
The temperatures have not cooled, and the humidity continues unabated. Most trees are still green, though the poplar leaves seem to lose color with the setting sun and renew it as morning arrives.
However, the sense of the impending change grows.
What does the coming of September register in your mind and heart? As I grew up, we looked forward to Labor Day, when the family could gather for one last picnic.
Vacations were over, harvested fields contained only stubble, and the feel of approaching autumn made us expectant. Birds and butterflies begin to flock and prepare for their long migrations. Animals seek out food and shelter for the coming winter.
My pondering reminded me of an old song that encouraged us to “Try to remember the kind of September when grass was green, and grain was yellow. Try to remember the kind of September when you were a young and callow fellow…and if you remember, then follow” (Lyrics by Tom Jones).
The gentleness of the song reminded me of how much things have changed in my lifetime.
As grandparents, we sometimes remember old songs and old places. We may even grow a bit nostalgic. As grandparents, I hope we share some of the old things, the experiences, the memories, and the dreams with our grandchildren.
We remember when life was different and often lament the fast-paced, social media, and technology-driven times. Sometimes we must orchestrate an experience, but we should not hesitate to give them a picture of our history which is their history, also.
Of course, we want to remember that our role and goal is to love them for who they are and encourage them to become all they can be. We want to share faith stories and show them Jesus.
However, we must do so prayerfully. Sometimes we want to rush ahead of the Spirit, thinking we must “save” them. God will do the saving, while we must first build relationships.
It is sweet to hear of families who have excelled by the power of the Spirit and whose children and grandchildren follow Jesus. Other families have very different stories and do not have a strong generational influence.
Some grandparents have a limited relationship with their grandchildren. A few are forbidden to mention faith or are given limited and proscribed time with the grandchildren.
Many grandparents are blessed to have a beautiful, Christ-filled relationship with their grandchildren. Sharing fun memories and creating new memories around holidays and events simply enhances that bond.
Others who struggle for inroads into the lives of their grandchildren may find creative ways to build relationships through celebrations, even silly ones like “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” or “National Playdough Day.”
Some grandparent relationships are automatic; some are hard-won. In both instances, it takes perseverance to keep on when something doesn’t work out.
Love involves determination and dedication, but there’s time for fun, too, and that fun relationship can create an unexpected openness.
One look at a September event calendar can provide many ideas for sharing life, time, and fun with our grandchildren even across the miles.
It is indeed Grandparent’s month, and The Legacy Coalition has created resources for our churches to celebrate grandparents and encourage them to be intentional Christian grandparents.
We can build relationships with our grandchildren though having fun together. Check out some of the fun and crazy events and decide to read a book for National Read a Book Day on Labor Day. Or celebrate your recreated family with Stepfamily Day on the 16th.
We remember September 11 (now called Patriot’s Day), and our children should know the stories of courage and reminders of hope from a challenging time.
If you live in an area with fall foliage, take a drive and enjoy God’s creative handiwork. Perhaps you live in a part of the country where apples are grown, so you can visit an orchard with grandchildren and tell stories about apples.
Join your grandchildren on Zoom and eat peanuts (13th). Play a video game with them online to celebrate Video Games Day on the 12th.
Any of these are intentional grandparenting. We can seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance to help us put a loving Christian perspective when we are out in creation or helping others less fortunate than ourselves.
We want their sweet souls to come to know Jesus. We can’t make that happen. That is God’s job, but we can show them what a good place that is in how we love them.