If you had ten grandchildren, I’m convinced that each of them would be different. Isn’t it amazing how creative God is in crafting each child with their different body types, personalities, concerns, and interests? I remember being amazed how different our two girls were growing up even in the way they both handled money. As they got older, our children would receive an allowance on Saturday for chores done throughout the week. Lydia, our youngest, is a saver. I think she still has the first dollar we ever gave her. (She never minded spending my money but has managed to hang onto most of hers.) Rachael, on the other hand, could not get rid of her allowance fast enough. Wherever we were on a Saturday, when she got her allowance she would find a way to spend it. I used to kid her that if I gave her allowance to her at a gas station, she would go in and buy a quart of oil.
Each one of your grandchildren will be different. They may have some of the qualities of one parent or both, but the unique blend is all their own. It is easy for parents to project their own interests on their offspring instead of allowing them to develop their own or too quickly pigeonhole who they think they might be. But grandparents have a different perspective, giving them an opportunity to affirm each grandchild’s unique contribution to the world and help them find their unique place in it.
To this day, our grown daughters still talk about the individual attention they got when my wife or I took just them on a daddy/daughter date or a mommy/daughter day. These days, my granddaughter Maleah loves her “M and M” days with her Mimi (her pet name for my wife). In fact, when our granddaughter found out the fourth grandchild was going to be a boy, she said, “Great, I’ll have Mimi all to myself.” The trick is making each grandchild feel like they have you all to himself or herself, basking in the affirmation and guidance they uniquely experience with you.
Heroic Grandfather Challenge #2: In his excellent book titled The Blessing, Dr. John Trent explains that every child yearns to know he or she is highly valued and has a special future. In other words, they need those of us closest to them to see their unique potential and tell them we believe they will be greatly used by God. Do not underestimate the power of such words coming from a grandparent in spoken or written word. Take a moment right now to send each of your grandkids a brief message affirming his or her unique gifts and/or personality. I promise you it will have a big impact on your grandchild’s sense of identity and self-worth.
Find more ideas at the INTENTIONAL GRANDFATHERS page.