As we celebrate National Grandparents Day this month in Hickory Villa, let us remember the special role that God has given to many seniors. In Deuteronomy 4:9 KJV, God calls grandparents to not forget the many things they have learned in their lives and to pass them on to their families.
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from they heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;
By sharing lessons and encouragement from their own experiences, seniors can help the youth in their family face adversities, grow in character and learn about God and His plan for their lives. The blessings that stem from a close bond between a grandchild and grandparent can't easily be expressed through words, but it's one that lasts throughout the entire life of everyone involved.
To help nurture your own relationships, here are three tips for spending time with your grandchildren.
1. Get to Know Them
While this may seem obvious, it takes time, attention to detail and effort to truly get to know another person and come to understand what makes them happy or irritated and why. Boost your relationship with your grandchildren by learning what interests them. Find out how they first got started in their hobbies and what it is they like about them.
A deeper understanding of their choice of activities will help you share in their enthusiasm and display a genuine attentiveness when they’re talking. This encourages them to open up and express themselves to you more often.
2. Pick a Long-Term Activity
Create an ongoing project that your grandchildren can look forward to sharing with you. This can be as a group or on an individual basis. Take their age, patience level and interests into consideration and form an activity that you can work on together each time they come to visit your assisted living apartment. It can be a shared interest, or if you're feeling adventurous, a new hobby you can explore together.
If they live far away, choose a project that can be completed through scheduled phone calls, video calls or online chats. The most important element isn't proximity but the time that you spend together and the memories that you make with them.
A few suggestions for projects to help you get started are to:
3. Be Dependable
Life is often hectic and messy. Be a calm, steady presence in their lives so that when they feel overwhelmed, your grandchildren know they have someone they can turn to for comfort and wisdom. Keep your word when you make plans and promises and let your words and actions show them you care.
By consistently showing them love, encouragement and personal attention, you'll be able to form a bond that surpasses family ties or friendship. This will become a source of strength for them (and you) as they continue to grow and discover God's direction for their lives.