by Ken Canfield, Ph.D.

Not long ago, I had a bit of an epiphany.

I was visiting my grandchildren who live the farthest away, just enjoying my time with them. Then I simply reached down to pick up my young grandson, and our eyes locked. I don’t know what was going through his mind, but even given his toddler-level understanding, I imagined it was something like,

“Who are you, Granddad? What are you all about? What kind of influence are you going to have on me?”

Maybe I read a lot into an everyday moment, but nevertheless, I felt a deep conviction. And for the next few minutes, the thought that stayed in my mind was:

I’m not doing enough.

I wasn’t feeling a huge sense of regret at opportunities I had missed. I see him probably five times a year and we interact much more than that in other various ways. And I’m pretty plugged-in as a grandparent.

Still, I could do more to invest in his life and the lives of all my grandkids.

More specifically, that simple experience challenged me to:

  • connect with each grandchild individually and discover what’s unique about him or her.
  • pray for him and all my grandkids by name every day.
  • bring good things to his life—things that will stimulate his mind and heart, and encourage him to have character and faith.

Life is short, and opportunities with our grandchildren should not be missed. Being a connected grandparent is life-enhancing; it gives us purpose and we have important values and memories to pass on to future generations.

As one wise great-grandmother said, “The more you put into being a grandparent—or great-grandparent—the more you’ll get out of it.”

What about you? Is there some way you could do more or increase your influence?

I hope you’re challenged as I was. Please share your ideas and see what else we’re up to at our Facebook page.